Mattea finally returns
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Mattea finally returns

Friday, September 7, 2018 – Kathy Mattea is out with her first CD in six years, "Pretty Bird." "Calling Me Home" came out in 2012 and since then, Mattea has endured vocal concerns. Tim O'Brien produced the new set, which includes Mary Gauthier's "Mercy Now." Mattea was named Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year in 1989 and 1990 and earned a 1983 Grammy Award for her album "Good News."

Songwriter Ruston Kelly released his debut, the interestingly titled "Dying Star," on Rounder. The disc was co-produced by Kelly and Jarrad K (Kate Nash, Weezer) and features 14 songs written/co-written by Kelly. Recorded at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas, "Dying Star" features Kelly (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, xylophone, harmonica), Jarrad K (12-string guitar, background vocals, electric guitar, Rhodes), Tim Kelly (pedal steel), Ian Fitchuk (piano, organ, drums, percussion), Eli Beaird (bass) and Kyle Ryan (banjo) as well as background vocals from Kacey Musgraves, Jon Green, Natalie Hemby, Kate York, Abby Sevigny and former Civil Wars member Joy Williams. Kelly is married to Musgraves.

The Stray Birds, a trio from central Pennsylvania, are out with their swan song, "Let It Pass," an 11-song set. The group's fourth album followed the romantic break-up of band members fiddler/guitarist/banjoist/vocalist Maya de Vitry and fiddler/guitarist/mandolinist/vocalist Oliver Craven. Charlie Muench on bass and banjo rounds out the trio. The band canceled their fall tour.


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CD reviews for Kathy Mattea

CD review - Pretty Bird "Pretty Bird" is Kathy Mattea's first studio album in six years, following 2012's "Follow Me Home." The major reason for this gap was Mattea's realization that her voice was changing so much, she felt as if she was losing it altogether. Through vocal coaching and dedicated perseverance she has emerged, singing in a lower, albeit richer voice, for a strong album of interpretative covers. Keep in mind that Mattea has won two Grammys, four CMA Awards, has ...
CD review - Calling Me Home As a commercially successful country artist during the '80s and '90s, Kathy Mattea hit the top 20 with no fewer than 21 singles, and although she last reached the top 10 almost 2 decades ago with Walking Away a Winner, she has continually produced high quality music that has become more engaging with each release. "Calling Me Home" picks up fairly close to where 2008's outstanding "Coal" left off. The Cross Lanes, West Va. native continues to mine the ...
CD review - Coal This could have been just one more example of a contemporary country artist tapping into the traditional country vein, a career tactic that has been explored nearly to the point of revulsion in the post-"O Brother, Where Art Thou" world. But Kathy Mattea would have none of that. Mattea, who calls herself a "child of coal" in the album's liner notes, really has a feel for these mining songs, having grown up in West Virginia where the mines were a way of life - and death ...


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