Kathleen Alice "Kathy" Mattea (born June 21, 1959) is an American country music and bluegrass performer who often brings folk, Celtic and traditional country sounds to her music. Active since 1983 as a recording artist, she has recorded seventeen albums and has charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. This total includes the number one hits "Goin' Gone", "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses", "Come From the Heart" and "Burnin' Old Memories", as well as twelve additional Top Ten singles.
Mattea was born in South Charleston, West Virginia because it had the nearest hospital to her parents' home in Cross Lanes, where she grew up, graduating from nearby Nitro High School. She discovered her love of singing at Girl Scout camp. In 1976, while attending West Virginia University, she joined the bluegrass band Pennsboro, and two years later dropped out of school to move to Nashville. She worked as a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame, did backup vocal work for Bobby Goldsboro, and sang demos for several Nashville songwriters and publishers including Nashville songwriter/producer Byron Hill who brought her to the attention of Frank Jones (then head of Mercury Records), who signed her to her first record deal in 1983.
Mattea's third album, Walk the Way the Wind Blows (1986), proved to be her critical and commercial breakthrough, Her cover of Nanci Griffith's "Love at the Five and Dime" was her first major hit, reaching No. 3 (and in addition, earned Griffith notice as a songwriter), and the album produced three other top ten songs: "Walk the Way the Wind Blows" (#10), "You're the Power" (#5), and "Train of Memories" (#6). "Love at the Five and Dime" also drew attention because well-known country singer Don Williams sang harmony vocals on the track...
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