Coal

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Darkness, in and out of the mine, is ever present in the coal miner's life. Unassuming, gripping, and informed by experience, Kathy Mattea's journey back to her West Virginia roots in Coal (produced by Marty Stuart) is a tale told darkly, exploring the hardship, tenacity, and endurance that are the mining family's daily bread. Mattea, who can belt with the best of 'em, approaches these songs with controlled fury and heightened empathy for lives at risk. While the world moves on (Jean Ritchie's rumbling "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore" opens the album on an ominous note, lamenting the demise of a mining community and the all-consuming darkness attached to it), miners...
See more details below
CD (Digi-Pak)
$12.02
BN.com price
(Save 7%)$12.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (CD)
  • All (6) from $2.46   
  • New (4) from $11.29   
  • Used (2) from $2.46   

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Darkness, in and out of the mine, is ever present in the coal miner's life. Unassuming, gripping, and informed by experience, Kathy Mattea's journey back to her West Virginia roots in Coal (produced by Marty Stuart) is a tale told darkly, exploring the hardship, tenacity, and endurance that are the mining family's daily bread. Mattea, who can belt with the best of 'em, approaches these songs with controlled fury and heightened empathy for lives at risk. While the world moves on (Jean Ritchie's rumbling "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore" opens the album on an ominous note, lamenting the demise of a mining community and the all-consuming darkness attached to it), miners accept their dire fate (Darrel Scott's foreboding "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive"), and the beckoning mine persists in myth and in fact as a voracious, subterranean leviathan (the chilling "Black Lung"). Stuart, who knows how to work with great singers in the studio, lets Mattea soar above a spare, haunting soundscape. Byron House's slap bass is the journey's indomitable beating heart, an aural evocation of the coal miners' persistence, and Stuart makes sure to keep its pulse right there. Other instruments -- mandolin, banjo, cello, accordion -- make what amount to cameo appearances, popping up periodically for added atmosphere as Mattea works her way through a merciless, unforgiving landscape. Patti Loveless adds keening mountain harmony to a miner's tale of physical dissolution, "Blue Diamond Mines," and Tim and Molly O'Brien join Mattea on soothing, spiritually redolent choruses of a bittersweet memory of the home state, "Green Rolling Hills." In the end, though, Mattea is utterly alone, singing a cappella, in the desolate denouement, "Black Lung/Coal," before the entire exercise fades to the deepest hue of black. No stranger to deeply personal albums, Kathy Mattea, with Coal, digs deep for something extra and finds it.
All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Although she's moved steadily towards a more roots-oriented style over the years, Kathy Mattea will probably always be remembered for her pop-styled country hits from the 1980s and '90s on Mercury and MCA Records. A lot has changed, though, and she's no longer a major-label darling, and her latest album, Coal, on the independent Captain Potato imprint, is exactly the kind of release she wouldn't have been allowed to do earlier in her career when everything hinged on delivering a radio hit or two or three. Coal is a heartfelt examination of the hard, often dangerous life of coal miners, and includes classic mining songs by the likes of Merle Travis, Hazel Dickens, and Jean Ritchie all arranged in a delicate, muted acoustic style by Mattea and her producer this time out, Marty Stuart. Mattea grew up in West Virginia, and while her father escaped the mines, both her grandfathers were miners, so when the 2006 Sago Mine disaster hit, which left 12 good men dead, she made up her mind to record this sparse, striking album. It won't land her on the new country stations, but it's a beautiful testament to a difficult way of life, and working on an independent label, she's been given the freedom to make an album that has more to do with the heart than the ring of distant cash registers. Highlights include versions of two of Jean Ritchie's finest compositions, the precise and brilliant "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore" and the only slightly less striking "Blue Diamond Mines," a muted and effective take on Billy Edd Wheeler's haunting "Red-Winged Blackbird," and a sturdy rendition of Merle Travis' classic "Dark as a Dungeon," but everything here is of a piece, and Mattea's unadorned vocals and Stuart's supporting arrangements never overstate things, allowing these songs to tell their forceful stories of lives spent reaching for personal dignity and redemption in the face of almost impossible odds. It's bleak, sad, and tragic, yes, but Coal, in the end, is surprisingly reaffirming because of it. Coal won't fill the dancefloors but it will fill the heart with hope and remind that even in the darkest times and places, there's a song worth singing, and those songs, the ones that emerge from the bleakest situations, may well be ones we need the most.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/1/2008
  • Label: Captain Potato
  • UPC: 689076532600
  • Catalog Number: 65326
  • Sales rank: 56,119

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kathy Mattea Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Marty Stuart Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals, Mandocello, Vocal Harmony
Patty Loveless Background Vocals, Vocal Harmony
John Catchings Cello
Bill Cooley Acoustic Guitar
Stuart Duncan Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle, Mandocello
Byron House Upright Bass
Randy Leago Piano, Accordion
Fred Newell Pedal Steel Guitar, Upright Bass
Mollie O'Brien Background Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Tim O'Brien Background Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Eric Fritsch Hammond Organ, Hammond B3
Technical Credits
Marty Stuart Composer, Producer, Audio Production
Merle Travis Composer
Hazel Dickens Composer
Jean Ritchie Composer
Mick Conley Engineer, overdub engineer
Jim DeMain Mastering
Alice Gerrard Composer
Emory Gordy Engineer
Darrell Scott Composer
Traditional Composer
Dan Spomer Vocal Engineer
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic CD!

    Very moving songs..Kathy Mattea sings with such power and emotion..and Marty Stuart has captured that perfectly. I love this CD!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews