Kathy Mattea On Mountain Stage Kathy Mattea graces the Mountain Stage to showcase tracks from her recent album Pretty Bird, which celebrates her maturing vocal range.

Kathy Mattea performs on Mountain Stage. Brian Blauser /Mountain Stage hide caption

toggle caption
Brian Blauser /Mountain Stage

Kathy Mattea performs on Mountain Stage.

Brian Blauser /Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage

Kathy Mattea On Mountain Stage

Kathy Mattea On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/656157116/656184074" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

In front of a home state crowd gathered for the Augusta Heritage Festival and Workshops in Elkins, W.V., Kathy Mattea unveils songs from her latest release, Pretty Bird.

Mattea made her first of many appearances on Mountain Stage in 1985, after leaving West Virginia for Nashville, where she had signed her first record deal. She'd go on to win two Grammys and two CMA Female Vocalist of the Year awards, charting "more top 10 hits than there are slots in a top 10 list," as guest-host Bil Lepp described in his introduction.

Mattea's latest, Pretty Bird, is her first new record in six years, produced by fellow-West Virginian Tim O'Brien. The collection finds the revered singer putting her touch on songs by some of her favorite songwriters and most influential artists, while mastering her newfound vocal range.

The most astute listeners will recognize "Chocolate On My Tongue," written by Oliver Wood and performed by The Wood Brothers on a recent Mountain Stage performance.

"He Moves Through the Fair" is a traditional English folk song, arranged as a gripping, musical conversation with acoustic guitarist Bill Cooley, who has played alongside Mattea for 28 years.

House guitarist Michael Lipton adds some "spooky retro-guitar" on the late-60s story-song "Ode to Billy Joe." Mattea mentions that many people, herself included, have found comfort in "Mercy Now," a powerful ballad written by Mary Gauthier.

She closes with a song by a fellow member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, Hazel Dickens. Mattea's a capella rendition of "Pretty Bird," is a powerful, heartfelt performance, made even more impactful in Dickens' home state.

SET LIST:

  • "Chocolate On My Tongue"
  • "He Moves Through the Fair"
  • "Ode To Billy Joe"
  • "Mercy Now"
  • "Pretty Bird"
[+] read more[-] less

More From Country

Ashley Ray plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Ashley Ray (Home) Concert

The Nashville singer-songwriter performs music from her celebrated album, Pauline, for Tiny Desk's quarantine series.

Mickey Guyton plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Mickey Guyton (Home) Concert

Country music's breakout star of 2020 performs three songs for her Tiny Desk quarantine concert, including "Black Like Me."

Katie Pruitt plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Katie Pruitt (Home) Concert

The Nashville singer-songwriter delivers an empowering performance in this Tiny Desk quarantine concert.

Little Big Town plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Little Big Town (Home) Concert

Little Big Town, one of the biggest bands in country music, perform a Tiny Desk quarantine show, and they bring the hits.

Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires play a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Jason Isbell And Amanda Shires (Home) Concert

Americana's most famous couple perform a Tiny Desk quarantine set in their barn, backed by gorgeous stain-glassed windows.

Brandy Clark plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Brandy Clark (Home) Concert

The Nashville songwriter performs four songs from her picturesque loft apartment, including fan favorite "Hold My Hand."

Bill Callahan plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Bill Callahan (Home) Concert

Bill Callahan has a deep pocket of stories to tell. Standing outside his home, he performs a few of them with guitarist Matt Kinsey and trumpet player Derek Phelps.

Yola plays a Tiny Desk home concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Yola (Home) Concert

The soulful British singer invites us into her temporary backyard in Nashville for a Tiny Desk quarantine concert.

Lucinda Williams plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Watch Lucinda Williams Play A Tiny Desk From Home

Lucinda Williams and her guitar mate, Stuart Mathis, set up shop for a Tiny Desk home concert at Thirty Tigers' headquarters in Nashville.

Ashley McBryde plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Ashley McBryde (Home) Concert

The country singer performed four songs from her latest album, Never Will, including one of our top 25 songs of 2019.

Back To Top