Second Cup Cafe: Kathy Mattea

Lorraine Bracco, right, arrives for the 2006 Primetime Emmy Awards. She received four Emmy nominations for her role as Dr. Jennifer Melfi, left, psychiatrist to mobster Tony Sopranos on the HBO series "The Sopranos." The first three nominations were for lead actress; 2007's nomination is for supporting actress.
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Kathy Mattea has sold over 7 million albums, won two Grammy awards, and was twice named country music academy vocalist of the year. But she doesn't follow the traditional country road. With each new album, Mattea experiments with songs and sounds that aren't what most of us know as mainstream country.

Her new CD, released this week, is called "Roses." It is described as "contemporary folk with a Celtic twist." And on The Saturday Early Show's Second Cup Café, she sings a few songs from her album.

Throughout her career, Mattea has remained ahead of the curve, both in Nashville's sound and its conscience. She was the first Nashville star to acknowledge the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and worked to fight the spread of the disease, producing the successful 'Red, Hot and Country' fundraising release. She continues to share her unique wisdom as a sought-after public speaker and performer. Mattea will give the keynote address at this year's Americans for the Arts meeting and starred in the Nashville production of 'The Vagina Monologues.'

This new album, "Roses," is her 13th studio album and was released this week. It explores the folk roots that first inspired her to perform, and adds diverse Celtic sounds to the mix. Kathy describes the music of "Roses" as "contemporary folk with a Celtic twist", featuring her powerfully tender voice alongside cajones, accordion, whistle, fiddles, mandolin, and even a pie pan.

More About Kathy Mattea:

  • 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 engagements for two months.
  • After her recovery she continued to record several more albums.
  • In 2000, she co-produced an album called "The Innocent Years."
    She toured with Asleep At The Wheel and collaborated on a children's record with Raffi.