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‘Pretty Bird’ Displays Kathy's Song Interpreter Chops

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Wednesday August 29, 2018

From Wide Open Country

Kathy Mattea’s ‘Pretty Bird’ Displays Her Song Interpreter Chops
By: Bobby Moore

[…] A definitive work from another woman without concern for country, folk and pop boundaries represents both Mattea as an artist and also the album itself. Other covers include mighty renditions of Mary Gauthier’s “Mercy Now,” Loreena McKennitt’s take on the British folk song “He Moves Through the Fair,” Joan Osborne’s “St. Teresa” and Martha Carson’s “I Can’t Stand Up Alone.” Best of all, Mattea closes out the album with the poignant title track, a cover of fellow Appalachian environmentalist and West Virginia native Hazel Dickens.

She also sought inspiration from the gorgeous arrangements of Jesse Winchester (“A Little Glass of Wine), Peter Mayer (“Holy Now”), past collaborator Dougie MacLean (“This Love Will Carry”) and other old friends.

In each case, Mattea and longtime guitarist Bill Cooley strip already folk-friendly songs down to bare bones arrangements that draw attention to the singer’s undeniable talent as a song interpreter and a well-versed student in country and American folk music’s global roots.

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