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Country Girl With Something To Say

For the first time in three years, Grammy-winning country singer Kathea Mattea is out with new music, her 11th studio album.

Mattea dropped by The Early Show Thursday to talk to Co-Anchor Jane Clayson and to perform a song from the new record, a deeply personal CD called The Innocent Years.

"I went through a lot while I was making the record," Mattea said. "Both my parents were dealing with serious illness, and my record label sold, and I turned 40. It was, like, life was coming Â… fast and furious."

She began to write for the first time in many years. "It was therapy," she explained. "A lot came out on the record. Halfway through, I decided that I had to make this record asÂ…a reflection of the sort of rite of passage into adulthood."

The title, The Innocent Years, resonates with Mattea on many levels, she said.

On one level, there is the yearning to go back for one day to a time when "I didn't have to be responsible, when somebody else made it OK."

But, then, it is also "about stepping through that door into the next part of your life, and the things that we go through as we grow up, and we trade our innocence for wisdom.

"I wouldn't go back. But the realization that it's happening and that your life is a finite thing, and you have to evaluate what you're going to do with it - those are big things."

No matter what you call it, the CD is getting good reviews, and Mattea said she thinks that's because "there is more me on the recordÂ… More of myself, more of who I am, down deep, got onto the grooves of the record."

Mattea will be touring with Asleep At The Wheel this summer, and she's collaborating on a children's record with Raffi.

  • Born Kathleen Alice Mattea on June 21, 1959 in South Charleston, W.Va.
  • A precocious child, she was encouraged to be involved in extracurricular activities; guitar and piano lessons were the ones she enjoyed most.
  • She began playing guitar at church functions, and while in college she joined a bluegrass group.
  • In 1978, she moved to Nashville and in 1982, she joined Bobby Goldsboro's road show.
  • The following year she signed with Mercury. Her first single, Street Talk made the U.S. country charts.
  • Soon after Mattea reached great success with Love at the Five and Dime, Goin' Gone, 18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses, Life as We Knew It, Come From the Heart, and Burnin' Old Memories.
  • On February 14, 1988, she married songwriter Jon Vezner.
  • In 1991, while perforning at a club in London, she had vocal cord problems and had to cancel all of her engagemets for two months.
  • After her recovery, she went on to record several more albums.

  • The Innocent Years (2000)
  • Love Travels (1997)
  • Walking Away A Winner (1994)
  • Good News (1993)
  • Lonesome Standard Time (1992)
  • Time Passes By (1991)
  • A Collection Of Hits (1990)
  • Willow In The Wind (1989)
  • Untasted Honey (1987)
  • Walk The Way The Wind Blows (1986)
  • From My Heart (1985)
  • Kathy Mattea (1984)
  • From The Heart (video)

  • CMA Music Video of the Year, 1997
  • Grammy, Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album, 1994
  • Grammy, Best Country Song, 1991
  • CMA, Female Vocalist of the Year, 1990
  • Grammy, Best Female Country Vocal Performance, 1990
  • Academy of Country Music, Song of the Year 1989
  • Academy of Country Music, Top Female Vocalist 1989
  • CMA, Female Vocalist of the Year, 1989
  • Academy of Country Music, Single of the Year 1988
  • Academy of Country Music, Song of the Year 1988
  • CMA, Single of the Year, 1988
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