Two-time Grammy Award winner and multiple Academy of Country Music
and Country Music Academy winner Kathy Mattea is making a ROSES
tour stop at The University of Southern Mississippi Oct. 24 in Bennett
Auditorium. Presented by Partner for the Arts as its headliner event
of the 2003-2004 season, Mattea will bring her new style of "contemporary
folk with a Celtic twist" to the stage.
leg on her musical journey has led her to her new album, Roses,
a mix of her powerfully tender voice with instruments like accordion,
whistle, fiddles, mandolin, and even a pie pan. Many of the songs
on her latest release, like the upbeat "I'm Alright,"
are favorite treasures that Mattea has wanted to record for some
"They Are The Roses," are stunning new finds. But in each
case, the songs speak directly from Mattea's heart to her audiences.
"I've always thought that if I can learn to listen to my heart
and make music from there, everything else will take care of itself,"
Mattea explained in a published biography.
In 1986, Mattea,
who left her native West Virginia for Nashville, Tenn., at 19, released
her breakthrough album, Walk the Way the Wind Blows, which quickly
established her as a fast-rising star.
time I broke through, country music had narrowed so much,"
she recalled. "I was part of an influx of a kind of new breed,
where the format opened up to a more rootsy sound in order to survive."
Hits from her
first album brought a critically-acclaimed breath of fresh air to
country music, along with other "left-of-center pioneers"
like Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, and Nanci Griffith, who wrote Mattea's
first Top 10 hit "Love at the Five and Dime."
It was late
1987 when Mattea received her first No. 1 single, "Goin', Gone,"
and the next year brought the release of "Eighteen Wheels and
a Dozen Roses," a song that won both the Country Music Association
and Academy of Country Music's Single of the Year award. In 1989
and 1990, Mattea won an ACM and two CMA awards as Female Vocalist
of the Year.
Also in 1990,
Mattea scored her first Grammy Award-Best Female Country Vocal Performance-for
a song co-written by her Grammy Award-winning songwriter/husband,
Jon Vezner. To top off the year, her album Willow in the Wind became
her first gold album.
the 90s, Mattea's successes continued with more singles, three gold
albums, the platinum-selling A Collection of Hits, and a long-awaited
Christmas album, Good News, that earned her a second Grammy Award
in the Gospel category.
a new friend, singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean, while making several
trips to Scotland during the early '90s, subsequently finding her
new spiritual musical home in the process. Mattea began to change
and looked for new outlets for her music.
want to push myself creatively," Mattea said. "It's one
thing to carve a niche for yourself, but quite another to keep searching
for what moves you as an artist. To record another album exactly
like all the others just wasn't making me wake up in the morning,
rarin' to go."
Finding a creative
freedom with a new record label, Narada, Mattea came to another
landmark in her career with the making and release of Roses. And,
as a believer in strong messages, she is able to connect better
with her fans.
to make a record that moves me," Mattea said. "It's amazing
at concerts to hear fans come up to me afterwards and say 'that
happened to me,' or 'I know exactly how that felt.' If I can make
that connection with my audience, I've done what I set out to do."
with her fans on a personal level makes it a family affair for the
country star and her legion of followers. The ROSES tour takes her
to performing arts centers like the one at Southern Miss and to
theaters around the United States.
places are my favorite kinds of rooms," she said. "The
audience can hear every word, and I can hear them when they talk
back to me."
When it's all
said and done, the themes of life's victories and spiritual struggles
run deep through Mattea's music. Her message on Roses to all her
fans is to "treasure the moment and enjoy the journey, wherever
it may take us."
for the Arts in presenting the ROSES tour stop is Coca-Cola and
B95 Pine Belt Country (WBBN-FM), with support from the Mississippi
Arts Commission, Southern Arts Federation and the National Endowment
for the Arts.
the Arts is an alliance between the community and the arts at Southern
Miss since 1997. James McKenzie of Hattiesburg is the 2003-04 president
of the advisory board for the organization whose mission is supporting
and enhancing arts in the area; promoting arts education for all
ages and expanding access to regional, national and international
arts events and artists.
the 8 p.m. concert are $40, $24, and $15 and may be purchased at
the Southern Miss Ticket Office. Call (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425
or order online at www.usm.edu/tickets.