7 Things: Favorite Songs by Favorite Performers #4 – Kathy Mattea

My favoritest favoritest of singers during those tender junior high and high school years, Kathy is still one of them. She’s one of finest gimmick-free – meaning no dancers, smoke, flashing lights or other hullabaloo – live performers one will ever see. The arrangements are just top-notch, the music is played with enthusiasm, and her voice is worth hearing live.

Kathy is also a long-standing and brave ally. Blacklisted from country music after pointing out her AIDS ribbon live on the CMA Awards and naming off her friends who died of AIDS, she then took the helm of the Red, Hot + Country album when the country music industry realized it was backwards and behind the times as usual. On which she did a kickass version of Rock Me on the Water with Jackson Browne, by the way.

Seven of my favorite songs – live, recorded or otherwise –

– but first four throwaways, because I couldn’t narrow down to just seven.

All Roads to the River – One of the coolest melodies ev-ah.

Time Passes By – Musically lovely. Lyrically interesting. The first verse, totally simple. The second verse, not so much. And the video is spot-on.

Sending Me Angels – This song has such style. Then you get to the sweet choir ending.

Ready for the Storm – Somehow, inexplicably, this song captures the feel of a cold sea. And you haven’t lived until you’ve heard it live with minimal instrumentation and a rain stick.

7 – Goin’ Gone

There is no denying this is a country love song. Which is a good thing, because that’s exactly what it is. And a damn good one.

6 – Standing Knee Deep in a River (and Dying of Thirst)

Human condition. Loneliness. Regret. Lost love. Lost humanity. Captured with elegance.

5 – Asking Us to Dance

The music in this song is simple and divine. I love the idea of it. I think it’s kind of sexy.

4 – A Few Good Things Remain

You know those moments when life seems like it’s just one big pain to live? And then the simplest pleasures become everything? This song is that.

3 – Patiently Waiting

This song is groovalicious, and I relate strongly to the “I want more ” theme. It also contains one of my favorite song lyrics of all-time. This one –

“…half the hands that held me held me down”

What?!? That is AWESOME.

2 – Love Travels

Possibly the most Celtic-sounding song in Kathy’s arsenal, it’s also one of the best. It gives her incredible range a real chance to shine.

For people who have spent a lot of their lives away from people they love, this song is like an anthem. Lyrically, it may even go beyond this world, eclipsing death. When you want to believe in the extraordinary power of love, this song takes you there.

1 – Untasted Honey

I have a bit of a soft spot for the song of the dreamer, and this is one of my favorites. It can be hard to explain to the people in your life who believe you’re crazy or flighty or irresponsible for not having lives like them why you make the choices you make. This song does it for me.

Sadly, there’s no video available. It is on Spotify, though, if anyone has any interest in a listen. All the above songs are, actually.

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