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Kathy Mattea on Coal

I confess to a misspent youth. Until about the age of 13 or so I listened almost exclusively to country music. (Alabama, Laurie Morgan, and Clint Black were actually my first concert—but usually I pass over that and claim Smashing Pumpkins.) So I have a bit of a soft spot for Kathy Mattea. I could still sing “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” and “Where’ve You Been” still brings involuntary tears to my eyes. I’m not a big country music fan anymore, but when Mattea gave a clinic at Berklee this week about her newest CD, Coal, I gained a whole new respect for her.

photo by James Minchen

Mattea’s not quite a coal miner’s daughter, but almost. Both her grandfathers were miners in West Virginia, where she grew up. Now she’s a dedicated environmentalist who uses her celebrity to bring attention to the effects of coal—on both the people who mine it and the rest of the world.

Check out the story over at

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