Adam Harris Published

Kathy Mattea to Release New Album 'Pretty Bird,' Appears on Mountain Stage August 11.


Grammy winning performing artist and West Virginia native Kathy Mattea will release her new album “Pretty Bird” in September and will appear on Mountain Stage Saturday August 11, 2018 as part of the Augusta Heritage Festival on the campus of Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va. Tickets are available now.

On September 7th, CMA Award-winning vocalist Kathy Mattea will release Pretty Bird, her first new album in six years. A sublime acoustic collection including a number of smartly chosen and heartfelt covers, the record marks something of a new era in Mattea’s 30-plus-year career. Over the past several years her deep, rich singing voice has experienced significant changes that could have put a permanent end to her performing, but after extensive vocal training she has emerged from what she refers to as her “dark night of the soul” with a duskier instrument. That newly trained but still memorable voice, which gave country fans such hits as “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” and “Love at the Five and Dime,” is at the very heart of one of the year’s most affecting LPs.

“This album has led me, slowly and unexpectedly, into new nooks and crannies of singing,” Mattea tells Rolling Stone Country. “Songs showed up in random ways… and became part of our musical landscape during regular Thursday jam sessions in my living room. It’s a very eclectic collection, and for me, each song has a very specific reason for being here, showing me some new point of view about singing along the way.”

One of country music’s most successful artists of the past several decades, Mattea, a two-time Grammy winner, has always approached her material, even the most mainstream country, with an eclecticism and sense of deeper meaning. Those elements are vibrantly evident on “I Can’t Stand Up Alone,” the first track to premiere from the upcoming collection, which was produced by Mattea’s longtime friend and frequent collaborator Tim O’Brien. Written by country-gospel legend Martha Carson in the Fifties, Mattea’s soulful version is a sparkling mélange of those genres, with touches of blues and Appalachian mountain music. The uplifting tune serves as a fitting tribute to singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, who died in 2014, and whose version inspired this one.

Mattea and her longtime accompaniest, guitarist Bill Cooley, will preview material from the upcoming release when the duo performs on Mountain Stage as part of the closing concert of the 2018 Augusta Heritage Festival. Tickets are availble online. Click here for details.

While she has made 19 apperances on the program, earlier this year Mattea stepped up to the guest-host microphone in an episode that can be heard in the Mountain Stage archives (Or look for episode #917 in Apple Podcasts).


Credit courtesy Bil Lepp
Bil Lepp will guest-host Mountain Stage on Saturday August 11 in Elkins, WV.

The August 11 episode will feature another guest-host, when storyteller and humorist Bil Lepp steps to the host’s microphone. Also appearing on the line-up in Elkins are award-winning bluegrass group Darin & Brooke Aldridge and traditional music expert and frequent Augusta Heritage instructor Joe Newberry, West Virginia honky tonk and country group Blue Yonder. The show will be broadcast nationally later this fall via NPR Music.

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