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Kathy Mattea Takes Her Roots to Heart

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Friday December 14, 2012

From Sturgis Journal

Music Q&A: Mattea takes her roots to heart
By: David T. Farr

Where do you go after you’ve charted more than two dozen Top 40 country singles, won two Grammys, four Country Music Association Awards and two Academy Of Country Music Awards, including three honors for Female Vocalist of the Year?

If you’re singer Kathy Mattea, you go “home.”

Recording songs with impact has long been important to Mattea, which is why she took to heart some important words a musician friend said to her after a 2006 mining tragedy in her native West Virginia.

“Kathy, this is what music is for — processing emotions we don’t always understand,” her friend told her.

Mattea was forever changed by the mining disaster, and that impact can be heard in music from her latest album, “Calling Me Home,” that reflects life in Appalachia.

The album follows her 2008 release, “Coal,” which Mattea released after feeling so much grief after the mine disaster.

“Calling Me Home” is a deeper look into the singer’s Appalachian heritage.

Mattea is currently on the road in support of “Calling Me Home.” Her tour comes to Sturges-Young Auditorium Jan. 19. Tickets are still available.

Mattea burst onto Nashville’s Music Row in 1983 with her self-titled debut album, winning over fans and peers alike with her unique blend of folk, bluegrass, country, gospel, and a rare singer-songwriter intimacy. That kind of winning connection only helped to ensure her place among other top artists of the 1980s and ’90s.

Just hearing a few of the songs Mattea charted with makes you in awe of her impeccable talents. Songs’ like “Eighteen Wheels And A Dozen Roses,” “Love At The Five And Dime,” “Walking Away A Winner,” “Time Passes By,” “Going Gone,” “Untold Stories,” “Burnin’ Old Memories,” “Nobody’s Gonna Rain On Our Parade,” and “455 Rocket” showcase her diverse nature as an artist, but it was the heartrending “Where’ve You Been” that made her star shine brightest.
In an interview with the Journal, Mattea discussed her influences, becoming a successful music artist and how she felt a personal connection to the mining disaster.

David T. Farr: There’s no doubt you’ve inspired singers with your career, but who are some of the musicians and singers who inspired you?

Kathy Mattea: I think everyone in my generation would probably list Emmylou Harris as an influence.

To read the full Q&A click here