In the Christmas Spirit: Kathy Mattea | Eastern North Carolina Now

    I never really knew of Kathy Mattea until this last Saturday night, December 21, 2011, when I saw her perform on PBS's "Song of the Mountains." "Song of the Mountains" is a music performance program of traditional Country music and Bluegrass music that is recorded in Marion, Virginia, and I often tune in at the 6:00 pm hour just to see if they have any novel acts.

    On this Saturday night, there was no standard musical family, usually featuring an adolescent kid on guitar or banjo, who picks about as fast as Eric "slow hand" Clapton; however, there was a four piece band: an acoustic lead, a stand-up bass, a lead fiddle, and a middle-aged woman, large-boned, on acoustic rhythm, who handled all the lead vocals. I had no idea who they were, who she is, but I immediately discovered that this middle-aged woman had some incredible pipes, with an outstanding ear for tone. I was seriously impressed by this tight little traditional Country band playing music that I love, with this remarkable lead singer about the age of my lovely wife. After about 10 minutes of searching my computer, with my eyes downcast to the small notebook screen, my wife discovers from a silent graphic on the larger television screen the siren's name - Kathy Mattea.
Kathy Mattea performing Christmas songs on a larger stage: Above. I did find that Kathy did a PBS Christmas special from the Biltmore Estate (I could not find any full length carols, and would appreciate those from anyone who has): Below.

   I caught almost the entire show, and it was wonderful. These four fine musicians stood close together on this small stage - as small or even smaller than the Turnage Theater's platform, and played so many wonderful songs, an amazing variety - even a fine Country rendition of the Rolling Stone's classic "Gimme Shelter." Now that was seriously cool.


   Since I am engaged in the process of searching for mostly contemporary Christmas Carols, consequently, I thoroughly searched Kathy Mattea's possible catalog for performance videos of Christmas Carols, but found it rather small, which I am finding is the norm. What I found that best represents her contribution to our collective Christmas cheer is listed, with the song's lyrics, below:

Both videos are of Kathy Mattea's renditions of Mark Lowry / Buddy Greene's "Mary Did You Know?" The version above was probably made from the stage from whence the picture (above) was taken. The version below is the black and white rendition that is very nice.


Mary Did You Know?

           Mark Lowry

    Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
    Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
    Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
    This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

    Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
    Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
    Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
    And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

    The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
    The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

    Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
    Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
    Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
    This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.


    Publisher's note: If you are really in the Christmas spirit, or just in the need for more, please click here to access all of the holiday spirit in melody and narrative that BCN can harness and offer for this Yuletide Season.
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( November 28th, 2021 @ 8:19 am )
Kathy Mattea exhibits an outstanding range in her vocal on this song, with musical arrangement near perfect.

It is a beautiful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, and you must listen to this one to be reminded what is the core of the Christmas gift unto Man.
( December 17th, 2019 @ 10:01 pm )
This could be one of my favorite seasonal /spiritual song; so much a favorite, I am learning it on my guitar in my own limited manner - I got the tone well enough to help my voice at least - not too bad.

In the Christmas Spirit: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Local News & Expression, Holiday Spirit, Regional Spirit, The Region The Turnage Theater in Images: a Retrospect in Melody - Chapter IV


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