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Review: Kathy Mattea 'Calling Me Home'

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Wednesday October 31, 2012

From Bluegrass Today

Calling Me Home- Kathy Mattea
By: John Goad

Traditional musicians, particularly folk artists, have long been known for their tendency to write and record songs of protest. Most musicians today are not quite as outspoken and often choose to celebrate the things that make America great, rather than speak out against the things which they may see as problems. One current traditional musician who is using her talents to subtly voice her opinion on current issues is Kathy Mattea, who has recently released a new album, Calling Me Home, on Sugar Hill Records.

Mattea is probably best known to most country music fans from her chart-topping success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with such songs as Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses. However, in recent years she has returned to her West Virginia roots, performing music which is a mixture of folk, bluegrass, and old-time and speaks of a social issue which is close to her heart: coal mining. With the release of Coal, a collection of mining-related songs, in 2008, Mattea proved that she loves the mountains she was raised in and the people who live there. Around the same time, she also began presenting “My Coal Journey,” which combines a discussion of environmental activism with the story of her research for the Coal album. She has continued in that vein with her latest release, a collection of twelve songs displaying her need to speak out about environmental issues and her love of the mountains.

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