Kathy Mattea - Even more impressive than her substantial cache of awards, Grammys and gold records, Cross Lanes native Kathy Mattea has made her mark in Nashville as a leader rather than a follower. After scoring with Top 10 singles like "Love At the Five & Dime," "Walk the Way the Wind Blows," “Goin’ Gone” and “Eighteen Wheels And A Dozen Roses,” she began infusing her music with musical influences ranging from rock and gospel to folk, and tapping Celtic musicians like Dougie MacLean. After winning a Grammy for "Best Female Country Vocal" in 1990, Mattea made several trips to Scotland to study the links between country music and traditional Scottish folk. In 1993, she won a Grammy for “Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Gospel Album” for the Christmas CD “Good News.” In 2000, she released “The Innocent Years,” a heartfelt tribute to her ailing father, followed by 2003's “Joy For Christmas Day” and 2005's “Right Out of Nowhere.” Shaken by the 2006 Sago Mine disaster, Mattea - whose parents were raised in coal camps and grandfathers worked in the mines -- became an outspoken opponent of mountaintop removal. Her 2008 release, “Coal,” included songs by West Virginians Billy Edd Wheeler and Hazel Dickens that focus on the hardships of life in the coalfields. Her 2012 CD, “Calling Me Home,” continued her journey with more songs about Appalachia. Mattea was inducted into the WV Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
Kathleen Edwards - Named one of the “10 To Watch In 2003" by Rolling Stone magazine, Canadian singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards has been turning heads with songs that combine striking lyrics with sophisticated musicianship. Born in Ottawa, Edwards spent portions of her youth in Korea and Switzerland, and began studying classical violin when she was five. Influenced by Ani DiFranco, the singer/songwriter also arranged and played all the string parts on her debut. Edwards made her national TV debut on “The Late Show With David Letterman” and has opened arena shows for Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. Her fifth release, “Voyageur,” chronicles a love affair from beginning to end.
Kim Richey - After living in South America, Europe, and numerous locales across the U.S., Ohio native Kim Richey settled in Nashville to pursue a career in country music. She was quickly signed by Mercury Records and, in 1995, released her self-titled debut. Since then, Richey has been twice nominated for a Grammy, her “Glimmer” release was listed in the “Top 10 Albums of 1999" in Time Magazine while “Rise” was named “Alt-Country Album Of The Year” in People Magazine. She has written two No. 1 songs and four Top 10 hits and has had her songs recorded by the likes of Trisha Yearwood and UK pop sensation James Morrisson. She’s appeared on albums by Ryan Adams, Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter and even William Shatner (produced by Ben Folds). Richey's sixth release, “Wreck Your Wheels,” was recorded in Nashville with her touring band and finds her returning to her Americana roots.
Shovels & Rope - Formed in 2010 in “the other Charleston” (South Carolina), Shovels & Rope is a duo made up of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent. Their energetic performances utilize guitars, a handful of harmonicas, the occasional keyboard, and a junkyard drum kit harvested from an actual garbage heap and adorned with tambourines, flowers and kitchen rags. Meanwhile, the songs are raw, effortless and insightful. The group’s latest CD, “O' Be Joyful,” was recorded in the twosome's house, backyard and van, as well as various motel rooms across America.
Bonnie Bishop - Based in Nashville, by way of Texas and Mississippi, singer/songwriter Bonnie Bishop is making a name for herself both with her songs and her powerful live shows. In 2002, Bishop began touring on Texas’ Americana and Lone Star state music circuits and released four regionally-acclaimed albums over a period of six years. During that time, she was nominated for “Vocal Performance of the Year” at the Lone Star Music Awards. In 2008, she moved to Nashville to pursue a songwriting career and, following a marriage and a divorce, wrote the impassioned songs that appeared on her debut, “Free.” “Not Cause I Want to,” a song Bishop co-wrote with former NRBQ guitarist Al Anderson, was recorded by Bonnie Raitt, one of her heroes, for Raitt’s recent “Slipstream” release. When she’s not touring, Bishop is using her creativity to perfect a style of healthy cuisine as unique as her music.
This episode is scheduled for NPR distribution in April 2013. A complete list of stations that carry Mountain
Stage can be found at mountainstage.org