Kathy Mattea is Mountain Made
When Grammy-winner Kathy Mattea sings, West Virginia is never far from her mind. Her latest album "Coal" pays tribute to her West Virginian roots.
WV LIVING – You’ve said that the songs on COAL are more than just mining songs. How so?
Kathy Mattea – The songs tell about a sense of place, about a certain group of people, and about Appalachian life over a span of decades. They tell the story of my family. On this album there’s a sense of attachment to the land—a sense of hard work and dignity through some really hard struggles.
WVL – What are you hoping to accomplish with COAL?
KM – Well, originally it was very personal. I wanted to channel my own grief around the Sago disaster and to flesh out an idea that had been floating around in my head for years—an album about where I came from.
WVL – Who are you singing to?
KM – There are times I feel like I’m singing for my family, telling their story. There are times I feel like I’m helping connect people in other parts of the country with the people who mine the coal that provides their electricity. There are times I’m resurrecting songs for people who have loved them for years. There are times I’m honoring the life experience of all the great songwriters represented on this album. And there are times I feel like I’m articulating the life and struggles of a group of people who live their lives invisible to the rest of the world.
WVL – How did you get the nickname Captain Potato?
KM – Well, if you say my name over and over again rapidly—and especially if you’ve had a couple of beers—it eventually turns into Captain Potato!