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Spotlight On Kathy Mattea At The Del E. Webb Center For The Performing Arts In Wickenburg, AZ
Story and Photos by Glenda S. Paradee

Kathy Mattea performed at the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg, AZ on February 12-13, 2015.   Mattea put on fantastic shows.  For both nights, she had the audience mesmerized with her beautiful voice and music.

To start off each show, Mattea performed an audience participation piece called Blessing Rain.  It brought a special connection between Kathy and the audience.

During her shows, Mattea played guitar and sang songs from her current CD titled Calling Me Home and some from her CD titled Coal.  She also sang many of her greatest hits from throughout her career.  It was fun and interesting to hear the stories about the writers of some of the songs she performed.  Mattea also shared her humor.

From her Calling Me Home CD, she sang "A Far Cry". Kathy played banjo on "Gone, Gonna Rise Again".  Kathy told a few banjo jokes, then played banjo again on "The Wood Thrush's Song",  Mattea sang "Hello, My Name Is Coal" and a song by Alice Gerrand  titled "Agate Hill", which was my favorite.  Mattea told the story of when she met the song writer, Alice Gerrand, at a Folk Alliance and Alice gave Kathy a tape with the song on it.

From the Coal CD, Mattea sang "The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore".  Mattea performed this song with a cool train video in the background.  Mattea then sang "Red-Winged Blackbird", and "Coal Tattoo" also from the Coal CD.

From her Right Out of Nowhere CD, Mattea performed a wonderful rendition of Gimme Shelter.

Kathy performed many hits from prior CD's including the favorites, "Love At The Five and Dime", "Train of Memories". During "Eighteen Wheels And A Dozen Roses", Mattea invited the audience to sing along with her.  Mattea also sang "Untold Stories", "Come From The Heart" which also had a fun audience participation portion.  A nice part of the show is when she talked about when her husband, Jon Vezner, who wrote a true story song about his grandparents.  She then sang her big hit "Where've You Been".  She also sang "Battle Hymn of Love" which was written by one of her best friends, Tim O'Brien.  She sang "Lonesome Standard Time", and then another favorite of mine, "Standing Knee Deep In A River (Dying of Thurst)", "Seeds", "Walking Away A Winner" and 455 Rocket. Someone from the audience requested "Harley" for her to sing.  Mattea sang another one of my favorites, "Love Chooses You".

Near the end of her show, Kathy stated, "This is my new favorite song", and then she sang the beautiful "Everything Is Holy Now".  She then performed a musical instrumental with her fantastic band that include Bill Cooley (Guitar), David Spicher (Bass, Vocals), Eamonn O'Rouke (Fiddle, Mandolin, Vocals).
At the end of each show, Mattea received a well deserved standing ovation. She then came back onstage and ended her concert singing the song "Calling Me Home" acappella.

Kathy had fans from all over attend the shows.  There were many Matteaheads in attendance for both shows that traveled from Colorado, Nevada, Utah and of course, me, from Arizona.  She made many new fans.  Kathy takes the time after her shows to visit with her fans, sign autographs and pose for photos.

It is hard for me to put into words what Kathy Mattea and her music means to me, but I can say, her heartfelt music reaches into your soul.  She makes me laugh, brings tears to my eyes and even gives me goosebumps.  Most important, she makes me feel.  I feel like a better person just for attending her concerts.  That is why she is my favorite performer.

A special thank you goes out to the Del E. Webb Center For The Performing Arts and the performance sponsors" Sally & Monte Miller!  You can check out the Del E. Webb Center For The Performing Arts website at:

Kathy Mattea will be on board The Country Music Cruise on January 16-23, 2016.  For information about the cruise go to: or call (877) 266-2686.  Make sure to tell them that I, Glenda Paradee, referred you.

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left to right:
Glenda S. Paradee, Don London, Bryan A., Kathy Mattea, Sue P. Doc B.
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More on Kathy:
Kathy Mattea is one of the most respected female country stars of her era, bringing a distinctive smoky voice and singer/songwriter intimacy to her music.  A multiple CMA, ACM and Grammy Award winner, her 17 albums are woven through with folk, bluegrass, gospel, and Celtic music influences.  Mattea has landed more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts, including the number one hits "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses," "Goin' Gone," and "Burnin' Old Memories."

Mattea was born in Cross Lane, WV, in 1959 and received classical voice training starting in junior high, but also took up the guitar when she discovered folk music.  In 1976, while in college, she joined the bluegrass band Peensboro and two years later dropped out of school to move to Nashville.  She worked odd jobs and perfected her songwriting, and in 1983 she landed a deal with Mercury Records on the strength of her demo tape.  He self-titled debut was released in 1984, and the follow-up, From My Heart, appeared the following year.

KathyMattea_Wicenburg_2015 064.JPG (100981 bytes)Mattea's third effort, 1986's folksy Walk the Way the Wind Blows, proved to be her breakthrough both critically and commercially.  Her cover of Nanci Griffith's "Love at the Five and Dime" was her first Top five hit, and the record produced three other To Tens in the title track, "Train of Memories," and "You're The Power,"  1987's follow-up album, Untasted Honey, confirmed Mattea's newfound stardom, featuring two number one country hits in "Goin' Gone" and "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses." "Untold Stories" and "Life as We Knew It" also made the Top Five.  Released in 1989, Willow in the Wind boasted an even stronger folk influence, and it became her first album to go gold on the strength of the number one hits "Burnin' Old Memories" and "Come from the Heart," and the number two "She Came From Fort Worth."  Additionally, the album's Top Ten hit "Where've You Been, co-written by her new husband Jon Vezner, won her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal.

Seeking to keep her music fresh by returning to its roots, Mattea made several trips to Scotland in the early '90s, studying the links between country music and traditional Scottish folk.  Her own music kept getting rootsier and more eclectic, as 1991's ambitious Time Passes By featured guest spots by Emmylou Harris, folk band The Roches, and Scottish singer/songwriter Dougie MacLean.  The album's title track and "A Few Good Things Remain" both hit the Top Ten.

In 1993 Mattea's Walking Away A Winner, saw its title track become another Top Five hit.  The same year, she issued the gospel-oriented Christmas record Good News, which won a Grammy for Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass gospel Album.  After a several-year hiatus, Mattea returned in 1997 with Love Travels, which balanced her folk and mainstream country leanings and in 2000 she released the ballad-heavy The Innocent Years, a heartfelt tribute to her ailing father.  Wanted to explore her taste for Celtic folk, Mattea recorded Roses in 2002.  The holiday album Joy for Christmas Day arrived in 2003, followed by Right Out of Nowhere in 2005.  In 2008, Mattea released the bluegrass-centric COAL.

Kathy has gathered songs and stories of bravery, pride and grief that further define and describe the life and times of her home place.  2008's Grammy nominated COAL was her first step to discovering this vast and rich genre of music that producer Marty Stuart allowed was 'in her blood," taking her back to the lore of family stories and to her place and her people.

Calling Me Home is Kathy's newest release on Sugar Hill Records, co-produced with multi-Grammy-winner Gary Paczosa.  It's a collection of songs that celebrates the Appalachian culture of her native West Virginia, and expands the vocabulary of acoustic roots music that has always served as her artistic center.

Meet Kathy's Band

Bill Cooley (Guitar), a native of Santa Barbara, CA, is a stalwart Nashville veteran, called "one of Nashville's most respected sidemen" by Guitar Player magazine.  After working with Merle Haggard in California in the early 80's he moved to Nashville in 1985, and has toured and recorded with Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, and Hal Ketchum.  As a songwriter he's had his songs recorded by Kathy Mattea and Reba, among others.  Bill has played guitar of Kathy Mattea on stage and in the studio for the past 20 years.

David Spicher (Bass, Vocals), a native of Nashville, TN, is the son of session fiddle king Buddy Spicher.  He has performed with Crystal Gayle, Pam Tillis, the Jerry Douglas Band, Carolina Rain, Jim Lauderdale, Nickel Creek, polka queen Lynn Marie, the Nashville Symphony, John England & the Western Swingers, and his family's own Nashville Swing Band.

Eamonn O'Rourke (Fiddle, Mandolin, Vocals) was born in County Donegal, Ireland.  He grew up in a very musical family and took an interest to music at a very young age.  Eamonn began his professional career in his late teens, playing with small, local Irish bands.  In 1993, Eamonn moved to New York to further his musical career and has worked with a wide variety of artists throughout the United States and Canada including the great Mark O'Connor.  In 2002, Eamonn was given the opportunity to join Kathy Mattea on tour.

For more information on Kathy, go to her website:

Thanks For The Music Kathy!

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