Kathy Mattea Brings Musical Past & Present

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Sunday October 28, 2012


Kathy Mattea bringing musical past, present to Saenger show on Saturday
By: Lawrence Specker

For some artists, trying to bridge two worlds is an either-or choice. But Kathy Mattea says fans won’t have to settle for just the past or the present when she comes to the Mobile Saenger Theatre on Saturday.

Mattea was a major force in mainstream country music from the middle ’80s into the early ’90s, with four No. 1 country singles ‘” ‘Goin’ Gone,’ ‘Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,’ ‘Come From the Heart’ and ‘Burnin’ Old Memories’ ‘” and a slew of other Top 10 hits. That’s the past.

In 2008, she dove headfirst into the roots music of Appalachian coal country with ‘Coal,’ a collection of covers and traditional songs more likely to be classed as Americana or folk than country. It wasn’t a major-label project and it wasn’t a commercial blockbuster, but Mattea has said it was like finding the music she’d been meant to sing her whole life. On Sept. 11 she released ‘Calling Me Home,’ another album exploring the same fertile territory. That’s the present.

It’s a scenario that suggests a couple of approaches: Either the artist makes a clean break and focuses on what excites her now, possibly alienating fans of the older stuff, or settles for doing greatest-hits performances, sneaking new stuff in where she can. It’s hard to strike a real balance.

But in an interview ahead of the Saenger show, Mattea said up front that ‘part of the fun of it has been taking some of the old songs and re-working them with this stripped-down band.’

To read more and watch some videos of Kathy’s new music click here