Thursday March 05, 2009
Singer Kathy Mattea has never stuck to conventions within any genre: A country-music hitmaker in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Mattea has also made forays into Scottish folk, gospel and roots music. In 2008, she made perhaps the most personal record of her career, Coal.
Mattea, a West Virginia native and the granddaughter of coalminers, drew material for her collection of coal-themed songs from the likes of Darrell Scott ("You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive"), Utah Phillips and Alice Gerrard ("Green Rolling Hills") and two of her fellow West Virginians, Billy Edd Wheeler ("Red-Winged Blackbird") and Hazel Dickens (the a cappella "Black Lung").
[continue reading and listen to live tracks at NPR.com]