Tuesday September 25, 2012
Kathy Mattea Comes Home on New Album
By: Terry Bumgarner
Kathy Mattea’s home state of West Virginia inspired her compelling new album, Calling Me Home. Even though she’s no longer striving for country radio success, she considers her current music-making approach to be similar to her hit-making heyday in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Really, the process that I am doing right now is really no different than the process I ever did. I have come to understand in my commercial years it’s just really lucky to be on a record label that let me be me,” says Mattea, who charted 16 Top 10 country hits in her award-winning career.
Speaking about the new album, released on independent label Sugar Hill Records, Mattea notes, “It’s like finding in the back of your closet your favorite old pair of jeans and finding that they still fit. It doesn’t feel like a departure. It feels like a continuation and a return home all at the same time.”
In this interview with CMT Insider producer Terry Bumgarner, Mattea reminisces about choosing the right song, creating a career-spanning set list and arriving during the golden years in Nashville.
CMT: Do you get a different kind of satisfaction putting out music and reaching listeners in this way than you did in ’89 or ’90 on a larger scale?
Mattea: You know, I understand the question, and the answer is no. I was really fortunate because I got to work with [producer] Allen Reynolds for the bulk of my career, and he’s a guy who’s like, “There is no magic formula, pal.” It’s a great song, sung honestly and well-framed. He pointed my compass so that is always where I want to live. I want to live in a great song, and I want to live in a song that moves me. That was true for “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses” and true for “Where’ve You Been?” and it’s true for this music, too. One of the things that I realized along the way — and felt so lucky when it really hit me — the songs that I built my career on have lived really well over time. I wouldn’t be able to do this if I wouldn’t have done that.
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