Some traditional musicians, particularly folk artists are known to write and sing songs of disapproval. Today, most musicians are not quite as opinionated and they often take the effort to rejoice in things that make something great, instead of despising things they consider as problems. Such is Kathy Mattea, who has released an album, Calling Me Home. In one of the title tracks, “Calling Me Home,” she used her talent to delicately voice out her view on current issues.
A New Material for Mattea
Most country music fans, perhaps, best know Kathy Mattea from her chart-topping success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Rose”. However, in recent years she has paid back to her West Virginia roots, performing a mixture of folk, bluegrass, and old-time. Mostly, she expresses a social issue close to her core: coal mining. From environmental activism, to love songs, to her love of the mountains, she speaks of them frankly, as she is.
However, the songs Mattea included on Calling Me Home are not completely protest songs. They are songs about life in the country. Nonetheless, it is also not about trucks, bars, and jeans like most topics of modern country songs. Instead, these songs show both the pros and cons of present progress which inhabitants of Appalachia struggle with each day. One song, which sums this up, was her melancholic elegy “Calling Me Home”, Kathy’s superb vocals set a simple, bewildering ode to making peace with death.
What Is Calling Her Home?
“Calling Me Home” was made with vision and love, condensed sincerely, as moving as only the fact can be. The specific intellect of Kathy Mattea is to call up the hallmarks of hope and despair that we all carry in our pockets. She reminds us that everybody has a home stretch, where you feel slightly uncertain. However, no matter which way you are headed, you are going towards home while also leaving it behind. This is the perfect music for that journey. Mattea’s vocals are calm but it captivates the feelings of these songs faultlessly, from anger to sadness, to despair.
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