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Kathy Mattea is guest at 66th Annual Santa Train

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Tuesday September 09, 2008

via The New York Times:

GRAMMY Award winner Kathy Mattea will be the special guest on the 2008 Santa Train, CSX Transportation (CSXT) officials have announced.

Mattea, a native of Charleston, W.Va., is no stranger to Appalachia. Her most recent album, Coal, released in April 2008, describes the hardships many coal miners face in Appalachia. Many of the songs on the album reflect the experiences of Mattea’s own family – both of her grandfathers were coal miners, and her parents grew up in coal camps.

"Riding on the Santa Train gives me the opportunity to participate in the lives of the people I have been singing about on Coal," Mattea said. "There is a sense of community here, and a sense of place like nowhere else; riding a train through the mountains and visiting with the folks will be the highlight of my Christmas this year."

The Santa Train will make 14 stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee on Nov. 22, 2008, distributing 15 tons of toys and gifts to thousands of people. The annual project, co-sponsored by CSXT, Food City and the Kingsport (Tennessee) Area Chamber of Commerce, is one of Appalachia’s most anticipated holiday traditions. This year marks the train’s 66th trek through the region.

"Kathy’s love for the Appalachian community is evident in her music, and her contribution to this project will make the 66th journey of the train even more successful," said Michael J. Ward, CSXT chairman, president and CEO.

Patty Loveless, Alison Krauss, Naomi Judd, Travis Tritt and Rebecca Lynn Howard have been among the on-board celebrity guests in recent years. Several governors, U.S. senators and representatives, and other local, state and federal officials have also participated in the annual event.

CSXT Corporation, based in Jacksonville, Fla., owns companies providing rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services that are among the nation’s leading transportation companies, connecting 70 river, ocean and lake ports, as well as more than 200 short-line railroads. More information about CSXT Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at the company’s Web site, http://www.csx.com/.

The Kingsport (Tennessee) Area Chamber of Commerce is a private, nonprofit business organization comprising nearly 1,000 members. For more information on the Kingsport Chamber, visit www.kingsportchamber.org or www.MovetoKingsport.com.

Headquartered in Abingdon, Va., K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., operates 91 Food City and three Super Dollar Discount Foods retail outlets throughout the tri-state region of southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee.

Mattea’s recent album, Coal, serves as a meditation on her family roots in the coal country of West Virginia. Recorded as a tribute to "my place and my people," the album features her take on classic mining songs to paint a nuanced portrait, exploring the tragedy that often comes from life in the mines while paying respects to the strength and humility that provide a bedrock foundation to the community.