Country music superstar Kathy Mattea brings a profound and personal life experience to her 11-song tribute to her parents, grandparents and ancestors on Coal. Mattea’s grandfathers were coal miners, and her mother worked at the United Mine Workers Union. Mattea has enjoyed re-crafting her career through the roots-oriented releases Roses in 2002, and Right Out of Nowhere in 2005.
For Coal, she has enlisted another country veteran to produce, the multi-talented Marty Stuart. Stuart brings fresh ears to the album, and he invigorates its sound with spare Appalachian instrumentation, reflecting the hills and hard life in the mountains of West Virginia where Mattea grew up. Mattea’s booming voice overtakes much of the material, enough to send chills down the spine on the gospel-tinged "Blue Diamond Mines." "The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore" leads off the recording in the mournful and respectfully honored bluegrass tradition. "Green Rolling Hills" pays tribute to Mattea’s West Virginian mining background, and Stuart offers a subtle touch behind the console as he envisions "Black Lung/Coal" as an a cappella number.
Kathy Mattea’s heartfelt interpretation of the compositions, and the deeply felt direction she steers Coal makes the project immediate and rewarding to the listener.
Coal is out April 1 on Captain Potato Records.