Coal

April 1, 2008 | Format: MP3

$9.49
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: April 1, 2008
  • Release Date: April 1, 2008
  • Label: Captain Potato Records
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 43:17
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0016LUCFK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,033 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 44 customer reviews
One of the best CDs I've heard and I don't skip a song.
Amazon Customer
As Patty Loveless and Dolly Parton have done before her, Kathy has returned to her roots, and like them, she has set a new standard for herself.
Mark D. Prouse
Kathy has an incredible voice, the musicianship is impeccable, and the melodies haunting and fundamental.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Prouse on May 28, 2008
Format: Audio CD
The albums UNTASTED HONEY and TIME PASSES BY were always the standard I held Kathy Mattea to, and they are both from a much earlier period in her career. Continuing to buy Mattea's CD's now and then, I had grown resigned that she just couldn't surpass those two high water marks, where folk met country and country met bluegrass and everything was blended beautifully by that powerful voice. She's had some great songs through the years since then, and good records, too, don't get me wrong. But now, finally, Mattea has reached a new career touchstone.

As Patty Loveless and Dolly Parton have done before her, Kathy has returned to her roots, and like them, she has set a new standard for herself. This record is so gorgeous, it's hard to be objective about its dark subject. The instrumentals, singing and song selections reveal themselves quickly, though, leaving no doubt that this is a labor of love. And while I'm gushing, let me also say that Mattea is doing the most sensitive and dynamic singing of her life, and it's brought to life through a very crisp and clear recording that captures her warmth in deep, rich tones. As others have written on these pages, Kathy Mattea comes from coal, and knows her subject deeply. This may also account for the extra emotion that fuels her voice throughout this work. It sounds both effortless and soulful, a hallmark of artistry that has reached full maturity.

Now, depressing as some ot the subject matter is, here, I just can't help but be moved by the beauty of these songs, and Mattea's singing. Many of the songs are associated with other artists and some of the songs are very old. Utah Phillips' "Green Rolling Hills" contains instrumental strains of "Wildwood Flower.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Allen Chapman VINE VOICE on April 6, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Kathy Mattea's "Coal" is an album of coal mining songs. Having come from West Virgina Mattea knows a thing or two about the life of a coal miner. The songs on here are all pretty bleak and as dark as the coal of which they were written about. The album is not depressing however. Many of these songs of been recorded by many others, but Mattea makes them her own with her beautiful vocals. There isn't a weak track on here, the entire album from start to finish is an incredible piece of work. However the most incredible track on here is the final track, "Black Lung" sung a capella Mattea is breathtaking.
"Coal" is the first album released on Mattea's own "Captain Potato Records" (say "Kathy Mattea" real fast and you'll understand where she got the name of her label from) and is produced beautifully by Marty Stuart. As with other artists who have been dropped from a major label and gone out and released their music thru their own labels, Mattea is free to do the music she likes and it shows on every track. Although "Coal" could very well be the best album she's every made, it does rank up there with her "Time Passes By", "Lonesome Standard Time" and "Love Travels" albums as well as her Christmas album, "Good News".
If you're a fan of Kathy Mattea you will love this album.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey F. Arnold on April 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Kathy Mattea definitely knows her way around music. And, like Patty Loveless with "Mountain Soul", I always love when a performer goes back to their roots. I mean literal roots, where they grew up and the music that permeated their childhood. You know you're going to get genuine, "really been there because I lived it" music. While Loveless has the plaintive thing down better, Kathy still works the material very well.

I can't say that every single song is a gem, but from only one listen, I know this has no lumps of coal (sorry); all the songs are well done and are tributes to the writers, other performers and especially to the people about whom these were written.

You can hear when there is love involved in a music project because the performances are more vital and alive; the artist and their accompanying musicians are vested in the performances because they know this music as though it is part of the very fabric of their being -- because it is. That's when you get an album like this.

So, yes, this is definitely a keeper and one of Kathy's best efforts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl H. Long on October 22, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was first introduced to Kathy Mattea nearly 20 years ago, when she was more of a Country-style singer. I have liked her voice from the start, as it reminded me a little of a cross between Anne Murray and Lori Lieberman (two of my other favorite female singers!). As time has passed, however, Kathy has been delving more into folk, bluegrass and Celtic music -- and I have enjoyed her voice even more.

"Coal" is one of her best albums to date. These are all songs that are about and dedicated to the coal-mining lifestyle. As someone whose grandfathers were both coal miners -- and to whom Kathy has dedicated this album -- she has experienced much of what she sings about on this album, which also explains why she sings these songs with such pathos, passion and feeling.

Another thing which strikes me is the simplicity of this album, from the acoustic-only instrumentation (fiddles, mandolin, banjo, piano and guitars -- the acoustic guitar of which Kathy plays in a couple of tracks -- to the eco-friendly packaging (a cardboard rather than jewel case), which is also fitting with Kathy's environmental concerns.

Among the standouts on this album are "Red-Winged Blackbird," "Green Rolling Hills" (Kathy's tribute to Virginia), the fast-paced "Coal Tattoo," "Sally in the Garden" (a banjo solo by Stuart Duncan, represented by the love that coal miners had for Celtic music), "Dark as a Dungeon" (describing the life inside the coal mines), and the environmental cry in "Coming of the Roads."

Probably the biggest standout is "Black Lung/Coal." It starts out as a mandolin solo, and then segues into Kathy Mattea's beautiful a capella rendition of "Black Lung," describing a disease which has taken many a coal miner's life. After Kathy's solo, the acoustic instruments fade in to "Coal."

Just as black coal is transformed into diamonds, Kathy Mattea's "Coal" has transformed into a "gem" to be treasured!
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