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Kathy Mattea

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Biography

She was born in South Charleston, West Virginia because it had the nearest hospital to her parents’ home in Cross Lanes, where she grew up, graduating from nearby Nitro High School. 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 as a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame, did backup vocal work for Bobby Goldsboro , and sang demos for several Nashville songwriters and publishers including Nashville songwriter/producer Byron Hill, who brought her to the attention of Frank Jones (then head of Mercury Records), who signed her to her first record deal in 1983.
Mattea’s third album, 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 major hit, reaching #3 (and in addition, earned Griffith notice as a songwriter); and the album produced three other top ten songs: “Walk the Way the Wind Blows” (#10), “You’re the Power (#5), and “Train of Memories” (#6).
Further hit songs include her first #1, “Goin’ Gone”; the truck-driving song “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” (1988); “Come From the Heart” and “Burnin’ Old Memories” (both #1 hits in 1989); “She Came From Fort Worth” (1990); “Lonesome Standard Time” (1992); “Walking Away a Winner” (1994); “Nobody’s Gonna Rain on Our Parade” (1994); “Maybe She’s Human” (1994); and “455 Rocket” (1997).

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  • Mullington

    A Far Cry...love it.

    8 Nov 2012 Reply
  • EfEmeril

    I heard a new (old) song from her today... makes me want to listen to all of her stuff.

    29 Mar 2012 Reply
  • bet18

    Thank you Kathy, you are a gift !

    8 Nov 2010 Reply
  • bet18

    Not only does she have such a strong, straight from the heart voice, but man oh man.......she knows how to deliver HUH?

    8 Nov 2010 Reply
  • donjon1212

    GREAT!

    25 Jun 2009 Reply
  • BluesRok

    Feel free to check and join the Country Artist of the Week group. Members vote for their favorite country artists to become the group's "Country Artist of the Week".

    31 Mar 2009 Reply
  • Leuchtenburg1

    Wonderful singer,

    29 Dec 2008 Reply
  • sct-esq

    Saw her at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August (2008) playing a workshop with Jean Ritchie. I had the sense that it was an historic moment, since Mattea sings so many of Jean Ritchie's songs. Ritchie is probably in her 80s and isn't going to be touring and performing forever. Historic or not, it is an event that I won't soon forget, despite the 25+ Philly Folk Fests that I've attended. The cuts of her "Coal" album I've heard are outstanding. I've got to order the CD one of these days. soon. Kathy Mattea is an extraordinary performer & songwriter & I was thrilled to rediscover her at the Philly Folk Fest. — Scott, Philadelphia PA

    27 Sep 2008 Reply
  • morrissimo

    Extraordinary. Wade in the Water is phenomenal -- unbelievable west coasting tune :)

    22 Apr 2008 Reply
  • arthistoryguy

    I always thought it was Walking Away a WINTER... heh. Sad.

    10 Apr 2008 Reply
  • nventi

    new image from photoshoot for new album: COAL please vote for it! record drops on April 1, 2008 for more info visit http://www.mattea.com

    8 Feb 2008 Reply
  • zamos

    So underrated.

    5 Oct 2007 Reply
  • LarkCGN

    Underrated, wonderful singer!!!

    27 Aug 2007 Reply
  • Cankerio

    Wonderful singer of marvellous songs.

    31 Jul 2007 Reply

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