JOHNSON CITY (November 6, 2012) – Singer/songwriter Kathy Mattea will present her “Calling Me Home” concert at East Tennessee State University on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center’s Martha Street Culp Auditorium.
The following day, Mattea will deliver the keynote address at the 26th Annual Arts Education Conference at the Millennium Centre.
The two-time Grammy winner and Country Music Association female vocalist of the year has sojourned back to what she calls her “place and people” for her last two, of 18, albums – Coal in 2008 and this fall’s Calling Me Home. While Mattea caught many people off guard with Coal, an album of old-timey Appalachian mining songs, she’s delved even deeper into her Appalachian heritage with Calling Me Home.
This new direction and process of learning traditional bluegrass styles and songs by legends such as Hazel Dickens – and “wrapping her voice around them,” as she calls it – has resulted in positive reviews and a new coast-to-coast U.S. tour.
“As far as voices go, Mattea’s is one of the best for this subject material,” says Brice Ezell, reviewer for Pop Matters. “Her voice has always had a rugged quality that suits the material of Calling Me Home and its predecessor, the similarly-themed Coal, very well. Interestingly enough, however, Mattea’s voice here is the smoothest it’s been in a while. In an unexpected turn, as her music has moved further away from the pop-tinged radio country of her ’90’s work toward more traditional, rustic folk and bluegrass, her voice has softened …. Make no mistake, though: her voice still has great power that conveys the hurt for those for whom she sings.”
While the evolution of Mattea’s style and perspective has been musically challenging, it has also been exciting for the singer who signed with Mercury Records in 1983 and released her first No. 1 single, “Goin’ Gone,” in 1987, followed by “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” which won both the CMA’s and Academy of Country Music’s “Single of the Year” award in 1988.
The much-honored singer and songwriter with 16 Top 10 songs in her repertoire is also a dedicated arts and education advocate, as well as a social and environmental activist, especially for issues regarding Appalachia. While she often devotes her energies to reclaiming and protecting the mountains she calls home, she will be touting the arts on her November visit to East Tennessee. Her conference keynote speech, “The Arts: Remembering Who We Are,” will focus on the part the arts played in her formative years and career choices and the role of the arts in identity and community.
“Kathy Mattea’s reputation is significant in the bluegrass and country music genres. Her music often addresses issues of importance to our community, such as the songs on Coal,” says Mary B. Martin School of the Arts Director Anita DeAngelis. “In addition, she understands why we should have the arts in our lives and arts programs in the school systems. She’s a huge advocate for the arts.
“The project is a partnership with the Johnson City Area Arts Council in that Kathy is delivering a keynote address during the arts education conference. It’s important to us that we have an ability to influence our community in different ways with the artists we schedule.”
Tickets are $5 for all area students with a valid student ID, $25 general admission and $20 for seniors 60 and over. Group ticket discounts are available for general admission and senior tickets.
For information about the ETSU Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, call (423) 439-TKTS (8587) or visit www.etsu.edu/cas/arts/ or www.Facebook.com/ETSU.MBMSOTA.