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Kathy Mattea Warms Fans With Her Voice Relaxed, Mellow Pace Blended With Silver Mountain Setting

Joe Ehrbar Correspondent

Kathy Mattea Friday, July 21, at Silver Mountain Amphitheater

On Friday evening, the audience at the Silver Mountain Amphitheater covered themselves in blankets and beach towels and drank lattes and hot chocolates, doing whatever they could to keep warm in the brisk 50-degree weather.

It was kind of hard to believe that it was a summer night.

A sudden burst of sunlight didn’t warm up the crowd. Instead, the night’s performer, country singer Kathy Mattea, did.

Her tender voice and personable disposition made nearly everyone forget about their shivers, at least for 90 minutes.

Though chilly breezes winnowed across the grassy amphitheater intermittently through the night, Mattea’s rich and confident alto had little trouble climbing the mountain.

Mattea and her seven-piece band played the hits “Time Passes By,” “Lonesome Standard Time,” “Nobody’s Gonna Rain on Our Parade,” “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses” and several others.

For the most part, Mattea and company performed at a very relaxed, mellow pace. Mattea relied on her sweet charm, not flair, to win the audience.

She didn’t try to get the audience dancing. Rather, the singer/guitarist just sang as everyone kicked back in their lawn chairs.

Ordinarily, given the weather circumstances, this kind of show might have sent people running for the gondola. On Friday, however, it worked.

Mattea often chatted between songs, relating stories about embarking on a career, learning to mountain bike and losing heart. It was her way of bonding with the ticket holders. And it was nice.

A few of the concert’s highlights included the tunes “Maybe She’s Human,” “Ready for the Storm” and “They Named Him Harley.”

Mattea joked that “Maybe She’s Human” was her “ode to PMS.” But, as soon as she dove right into the song from her latest album, it was very apparent that the song’s content was no joke.

“Maybe She’s Human” speaks of a woman living in a ‘90s household, where she is both the breadwinner and the one who keeps up the household. Her slothful husband works his day job and doesn’t do anything to help lift the burden. The lyrics - “Maybe she just needs something from you” - especially stood out.

The song is very timely, because it’s a situation that exists today.

After the song Mattea awkwardly said: “Sorry, guys.”

During the folk-tinged and moody “Ready for the Storm,” Mattea once again riveted herself to the audience.

She said the song was inspired by her retreat from the music industry a couple of years ago, leading her on an expedition to Scotland. There, she played guitar in a folk community.

“They Name Him Harley,” a crafty and humorous song about a baby and a Harley Davidson, was one of the audience’s favorites.

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