Twice named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association, Kathy Mattea established herself in the late 1980s and 1990s as an artist at ease with both country tradition and free-ranging innovation, and with her keen sense of songs and songwriting, as a masterful “songcatcher”. In 1990, the West Virginia native won the first of her two Grammy Awards, earning the Best Female Country Vocal Performance award for her moving “Where’ve You Been,” cowritten by husband Jon Vezner.
She is among the most successful women in the genre’s history, yet her creative spirit has led her to explore musical territory extending well beyond its confines. Her recent recordings have intertwined Celtic, Gospel, and Bluegrass influences with the folk and acoustic music that have always served as her artistic anchor.
Increasingly in demand as a public speaker, Kathy regularly presents educational programs, both separately and in conjunction with concert appearances, at colleges and civic venues across the country. These range from vocal and songwriting workshops for Berklee College of Music, North House Folk School, and the Swannanoa Gathering, to topical and motivational talks about climate change, the arts, and "Finding Your Path“, to her multi-media presentation "My Coal Journey“, a discussion of music's role in social change, featuring live musical performances and a powerpoint slideshow. An early spokesperson and advocate for AIDS awareness and research, Kathy’s long history of activism has led her to bring public attention and civil discussion to climate change issues, and to the controversial practice of “mountaintop removal” mining in her native Appalachia.
Her exploration of Appalachian music and culture comes full circle with 2008's Grammynominated "Coal," and her latest release, "Calling Me Home."