Friday, September 7, 2018
– Kathy Mattea is out with her first CD in six years, "Pretty Bird." "Calling Me Home" came out in 2012 and since then, Mattea has endured vocal concerns. Tim O'Brien produced the new set, which includes Mary Gauthier's "Mercy Now." Mattea was named Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year in 1989 and 1990 and earned a 1983 Grammy Award for her album "Good News."
Songwriter Ruston Kelly released his debut, the interestingly titled "Dying Star," on Rounder. The disc was co-produced by Kelly and Jarrad K (Kate Nash, Weezer) and features 14 songs written/co-written by Kelly. Recorded at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas, "Dying Star" features Kelly (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, xylophone, harmonica), Jarrad K (12-string guitar, background vocals, electric guitar, Rhodes), Tim Kelly (pedal steel), Ian Fitchuk (piano, organ, drums, percussion), Eli Beaird (bass) and Kyle Ryan (banjo) as well as background vocals from Kacey Musgraves, Jon Green, Natalie Hemby, Kate York, Abby Sevigny and former Civil Wars member Joy Williams. Kelly is married to Musgraves.
The Stray Birds, a trio from central Pennsylvania, are out with their swan song, "Let It Pass," an 11-song set. The group's fourth album followed the romantic break-up of band members fiddler/guitarist/banjoist/vocalist Maya de Vitry and fiddler/guitarist/mandolinist/vocalist Oliver Craven. Charlie Muench on bass and banjo rounds out the trio. The band canceled their fall tour.