Home > Sunday Morning Music > Sunday Morning Music: Kathy Mattea – Calling Me Home

Sunday Morning Music: Kathy Mattea – Calling Me Home

February 24, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments


by Cat Johnson

One of the slow-burning, standout roots albums from last year is Calling Me Home by Kathy Mattea. A product of the 1980s-era country scene, Mattea is now making music that makes her peak-era songs sound like popchart fluff. Embracing her West Virginia heritage, Mattea sings elegantly stripped-down, acoustic guitar-driven songs about coal mining, mountain-top removal, love, and the struggles and joys of living in Appalachia.

“[Appalachia] is one of the last places in our country, and maybe the planet, where people are this attached to where they live,” she says. “It’s our spot in the world. It’s one of the last places that has its own flavor.”

In 2008, Mattea released an album titled, Coal, which explored some of the songs, styles, subjects and issues of mountain living. She figured it would be a one-off and she would get back to her life, but as she says, “There was no life to go on with when I finished Coal.”

A continuation of Mattea’s return to her roots, Calling Me Home is full of devastatingly-beautiful, eye- and consciousness-opening tunes about people hanging on for dear life to their very survival. It’s about broken spirits, rivers running black and environmental devastation made in the name of profit. It’s also an optimistic nod to the beauty, culture and music found in the mountains.

Featuring songs written by Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, Jean Ritchie, Si Kahn and more, Calling Me Home is a must-hear for fans of bluegrass, roots and old-time music.

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