Spotlight On Kathy Mattea
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Story & photos by Glenda S. Paradee
Kathy Mattea performed at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ on July 2, 2017. Her concert tour is billed as "The Acoustic Living Room Tour".
From the opening song, to the very last note, the audience was mesmerized by her captivating angelic voice.
Throughout her concert, Mattea weaved between old songs, new songs and stories about her experiences of finding new songs to record, her changes and experiments with different styles of music, and finding that special connection with a song, her voice and her audience.
Mattea played guitar, banjo, and the penny whistle during her show. Bill Cooley, whom has played with Kathy for over 25 years, accompanied her on guitar. Cooley is a fantastic guitar player.
Throughout this musical journey, Mattea mixed in some of her old songs with some new. Mattea started off her show with an old favorite, Evenin'. She continued with some of the old songs including the fan favorites Come From The Heart, Train of Memories, Untold Stories, Ready For The Storm, Love At The Five & Dime, A Few Good Things Remain, and 455 Rocket. During her show, Kathy surprised me with singing Happy Birthday to me with the whole audience joining in. She then sang one of my most favorite songs that she dedicated to me, Summer Of My Dreams. It will be a favorite memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Mattea just started a few cords of Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses and the audience showed their appreciation with thunderous applause. The whole audience sang along the chorus with her during that song. Another great moment in the show was when she sang the beautiful song Where've You Been. It is a true story written by her husband, Jon Vezner, and was written about his grandparents. It was co-written with Don Henry. Mattea also sang a few songs off her Coal CD including Coal Tattoo, and The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore, and she also included a song off her most recent Calling Me Home CD titled Gone Gonna Rise.
Mattea put her music on hold for a while in 2015 and it gave her time to discover some new previously untapped aspects of her voice. "There's a whole new richness to the lower register of my voice that's opened up," She says. "There are songs I can sing now that I couldn't sing when I was younger." Among them is the classic Ode to Billie Joe, which she then sang. It was fantastic to here her sing this great song. Mattea is now in the process of recording a new CD and will include this song on it.
Mattea sang many other wonderful new songs that will hopefully be included on her new CD. Songs including Chocolate On My Tongue, Little Glass of Wine, She Moved Through The Fair, St. Teresa, You Can't Stand Up Alone, Everything Is Holy Now, and another awesome song called Mercy Now were all welcomed with very approving applause.
Mattea concluded her show with the very moving and beautiful song, This Love Will Carry, which was written by her friend Dougie MacLean. It was a very moving and heart felt moment of the show, when she asked the audience to sing along with her. We all felt an awesome musical connection with each other during the performance of that song. She received a well deserved standing ovation.
Kathy Mattea has a special gift. She is a true legend and an inspirational human being. Her music touches you deep within your heart. She can make you laugh, make you cry and feel all the emotions in between. Her connection to her music and her fans is a beautiful thing. She is one of a kind and a true gift from God. She brings joy and a peaceful feeling to your soul. If you want to feel something, listen to her music. That is what she does to me, she makes me feel! That is a gift!
After her second show of the evening, Kathy even took the time to come out for a meet and greet with her fans.
When she comes to your town, please go see her. You will be glad you did! You will feel uplifted!
Kathy Mattea Tour Schedule:
Green Music Center
July 4, 2017
Rohnert Park, CA
Freight & Salvage
July 6, 2017
Edward a Kenley Centennial Amphithetre
July 11, 2017
The Swannanoa Gathering
July 30, 2017
W J Rance
September 8, 2017
September 15, 2017
November 10, 2017
November 11, 2017
November 19, 2017
More on Kathy:
Kathy Mattea is one of the most respected female country stars of her era, a commercially successful hit maker who was able to bring elements of folk, bluegrass, gospel, and singer/songwriter intimacy to her music. Mattea was born in Cross Lane, WV, in 1959 and received classical voice training starting in junior high, but also took up the guitar when she discovered folk music. In 1976, while in college, she joined the bluegrass band Pennsboro and two years later dropped out of school to move to Nashville. She worked odd jobs and perfected her songwriting, and in 1983 she landed a deal with Mercury on the strength of her demo tape. Her self-titled debut was released in 1984, and the follow-up, From My Heart, appeared the following year; none of the singles from either record managed to breach the Top 20.
However, Mattea's third effort, 1986's folky Walk the Way the Wind Blows, proved to be her breakthrough both critically and commercially. Her cover of Nanci Griffith's "Love at the Five and Dime" was her first Top Five hit, and the record produced three other Top Tens in the title track, "Train of Memories," and "You're the Power." 1987's follow-up album, Untasted Honey, confirmed Mattea's newfound stardom, featuring two number one country hits in "Goin' Gone" and "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses"; "Untold Stories" and "Life as We Knew It" also made the Top Five. Released in 1989, Willow in the Wind boasted an even stronger folk influence, and it became her first album to go gold on the strength of the number one hits "Burnin' Old Memories" and "Come from the Heart," and the number two "She Came from Fort Worth." Additionally, the album's Top Ten hit "Where've You Been," co-written by her new husband, Jon Vezner, won her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal.
Seeking to keep her music fresh by returning to its roots, Mattea made several trips to Scotland in the early '90s, studying the links between country music and traditional Scottish folk. Her own music kept getting rootsier and more eclectic, as 1991's ambitious Time Passes By featured guest spots by Emmylou Harris, folkies the Roches, and Scottish singer/songwriter Dougie MacLean. The album's title track and "A Few Good Things Remain" both hit the Top Ten, but overall the album's singles didn't chart as well as was usual. She subsequently had throat surgery, but recovered fully to record 1992's Lonesome Standard Time, a less ambitious but still eclectic album whose title track was a near-Top Ten hit.
Mattea backed off her critically acclaimed recent sound for 1993's more commercial Walking Away a Winner, whose title track became yet another Top Five hit; however, the same year, she also issued the gospel-oriented Christmas record Good News, which won a Grammy for Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Gospel Album. After a several-year hiatus, Mattea returned in 1997 with Love Travels, which balanced her folk and mainstream country leanings; it sold decently well, but failed to produce any major singles. Mattea subsequently moved to MCA for 2000's ballad-heavy The Innocent Years, a heartfelt tribute to her ailing father. Wanting to explore her taste for Celtic folk, Mattea hopped labels to Narada, for whom she debuted in 2002 with the eclectic Roses. The holiday album Joy for Christmas Day arrived in 2003, followed by Right Out of Nowhere in 2005. In 2008, Mattea released the bluegrass-centric Coal for the Captain Potato label. Mattea followed it with another collection of songs from mining country entitled Calling Me Home in 2012 for Sugar Hill.
For more information on Kathy, check out her website: www.mattea.com
Thanks For The Music Kathy!
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