Pretty Bird

by Kathy Mattea

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    Hailed by The Washington Post as “one of Nashville's finest song interpreters,”
    Kathy Mattea has enjoyed the kind of success many artists only dream of: two
    GRAMMY wins, four CMA Awards, four #1 country singles, and five gold albums
    (plus a platinum collection of her greatest hits). The dream almost ended,
    though, when Mattea entered her 50s and began to find her voice changing.
    What followed was a three year journey through life challenges and vocal
    glitches that she describes as her “dark night of the soul,” a trying time of
    personal anguish and professional uncertainty that threatened to silence her
    permanently.
    “The hardest thing was facing the question of whether I would still be able to
    sing well enough to enjoy it. That was the acid test for me, and I had to be
    willing to walk through a process that bumped me up against the very real
    possibility that, in the end, the answer might be “No.”
    Instead, Mattea dug in with a vocal coach, re-committed to her music, and
    emerged with the most poignant album of her career, “Pretty Bird.” Working
    with her old friend, music roots wizard Tim O’Brien, producing, “Pretty Bird” is
    a chronicle of her journey, song by song, back to singing for the sheer joy of it.
    It’s an emotional, moving collection, one that draws its strength not only from
    Mattea’s touching performances, but also from her uncanny ability to weave
    seemingly disparate material into a cohesive whole. From a playful take on
    Oliver Wood’s “Chocolate On My Tongue” to a tender rendition of Mary
    Gauthier’s “Mercy Now,” from a British traditional to a Bobbie Gentry classic,
    these are the songs that helped Mattea reclaim her voice, and she inhabits
    each as fully as if it were her own.
    Exquisitely arranged and delivered with the kind of subtlety and nuance that
    can only come from a lifetime of heartbreak and triumph, ‘Pretty Bird’ is a
    title Kathy Mattea inhabits quite literally, and it’s a welcome reintroduction to
    one of country and Americana music’s most enduring and beloved figures.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Pretty Bird via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

Hailed by The Washington Post as “one of Nashville's finest song interpreters,”Kathy Mattea has enjoyed the kind of success many artists only dream of: two GRAMMY wins, four CMA Awards, four #1 country singles, and five gold albums (plus a platinum collection of her greatest hits). The dream almost ended, though, when Mattea entered her 50s and began to find her voice changing. What followed was a three year journey through life challenges and vocal glitches that she describes as her “dark night of the soul,” a trying time of personal anguish and professional uncertainty that threatened to silence her
permanently. “The hardest thing was facing the question of whether I would still be able to sing well enough to enjoy it. That was the acid test for me, and I had to be willing to walk through a process that bumped me up against the very real possibility that, in the end, the answer might be “No.”

Instead, Mattea dug in with a vocal coach, re-committed to her music, and emerged with the most poignant album of her career, “Pretty Bird.” Working with her old friend, music roots wizard Tim O’Brien, producing, “Pretty Bird” is
a chronicle of her journey, song by song, back to singing for the sheer joy of it. It’s an emotional, moving collection, one that draws its strength not only from Mattea’s touching performances, but also from her uncanny ability to weave seemingly disparate material into a cohesive whole. From a playful take on Oliver Wood’s “Chocolate On My Tongue” to a tender rendition of Mary Gauthier’s “Mercy Now,” from a British traditional to a Bobbie Gentry classic, these are the songs that helped Mattea reclaim her voice, and she inhabits each as fully as if it were her own.

Exquisitely arranged and delivered with the kind of subtlety and nuance that can only come from a lifetime of heartbreak and triumph, ‘Pretty Bird’ is a title Kathy Mattea inhabits quite literally, and it’s a welcome reintroduction to one of country and Americana music’s most enduring and beloved figures

credits

released September 7, 2018

Produced by Tim O’Brien

Recorded and Mixed by Sean Sullivan at the Butcher Shoppe

Mastered by Eric Conn at Independent Mastering

Engineered by Sean Sullivan

Photography: Reto Sterchi

Package design: Kimberly Levitan

Cover painting: Deborah Denson

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about

Kathy Mattea Nashville, Tennessee

Twice named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association, Kathy Mattea is among the most successful women in the genre’s history, yet her creative spirit has led her to explore musical territory well beyond its confines. Her recent recordings have intertwined Celtic, gospel, and bluegrass influences with the folk and acoustic music that have served as her artistic anchor. ... more

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Track Name: Chocolate On My Tongue
Sittin’ on the front porch, ice cream in my hand
Meltin’ in the sun, all that chocolate on my tongue
That’s a pretty good reason to live
Pretty good reason to live

Sittin’ in the bathtub, hi-fi playin’ low
Diggin’ that Al Green, well you must know what I mean
That’s a pretty good reason to live
Pretty good reason to live

If I die young, at least I got some chocolate on my tongue
If I die young, at least I got some chocolate on my tongue

Sittin’ in the front seat, good boy in my arms
Smilin’ in my eyes, and gettin’ me all hypnotized
That’s a pretty good reason to live
Pretty good reason to live

If I die young, at least I got some chocolate on my tongue
If I die young, at least I got some chocolate on my tongue
If I die young, at least I got some chocolate on my tongue
If I die young, at least I got some chocolate on my tongue
Track Name: Ode To Billie Joe
It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin' cotton, and my brother was balin' hay
And at dinner time we stopped and we walked back to the house to eat
And mama hollered out the back door, Y'all, remember to wipe your feet
And then she said, I got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge
Today, Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Papa said to mama, as he passed around the blackeyed peas
Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense, pass the biscuits, please
There's five more acres in the lower forty I’ve got to plow
And mama said it was shame about Billy Joe, anyhow
Seems like nothin' ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge
And now Billy Joe McAllister's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Brother said he recollected when he and Tom and Billie Joe
Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show
And wasn't I talkin' to him after church last Sunday night?
I'll have another piece of apple pie, you know, it don't seem right
I saw him at the sawmill yesterday up on Choctaw Ridge
And now you tell me Billie Joe's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge


Mama said to me, child, what's happened to your appetite?
I've been cookin' all morning, and you haven't touched a single bite
That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today
Said he'd be pleased to have dinner on Sunday, oh, by the way
He said he saw a girl, looked a lot like you, up on Choctaw Ridge
And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge


Well a year’s come and gone since we heard the news about Billy Joe
Brother married Becky Thompson, they bought a store in Tupelo
There was a virus going ‘round, papa caught it and he died last spring
And now mama doesn't seem to want to do much of anything
And me, I spend a lot of time pickin' flowers up on Choctaw Ridge
And drop ‘em into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge
I drop ‘em into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge
Track Name: Mercy Now
My father could use a little mercy now

The fruits of his labor fall and rot slowly on the ground

His work is almost over, it won't be long, he won't be around

I love my father, he could use some mercy now

My brother could use a little mercy now

He's a stranger to freedom, shackled to his fear and his doubt

The pain that he lives in is almost more than living will allow

I love my brother, he could use some mercy now

My church and my country could use a little mercy now

As they sink into a poisoned pit, it's going to take forever to climb out

They carry the weight of the faithful who follow them down

I love my church and country, they could use some mercy now

Every living thing could use a little mercy now

Only the hand of grace can end the race towards another mushroom cloud

And the people in power, they'll do anything to keep their crown

I love life, and life itself could use some mercy now

Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now

I know we don't deserve it, but we need it anyhow

We hang in the balance, and dangle 'tween hell and hallowed ground

And every single one of us could use some mercy now

Yeah every single one of us could use some mercy now
Track Name: Little Glass of Wine
Little glass of wine, it’s a good thing you are here
You're warm on my lips, warm as a tear
A comfort to the fool who's restless in his mind
The lover's trusty potion, you little glass of wine

Little glass of wine, you're oil on my flame
Shy of the sunlight, hiding your shame
And many, many tears, the number is sublime
Shall stain a woman's bosom, for a little glass of wine

As soon as you learn that you don't live forever
You grow fond of the fruit of the vine
So here is to you and here is to me
And here is to the ones we've left behind

Little glass of wine sure makes the party gay
It’ll seal a lover's bargain, it’ill chase the blues away
So if you're feeling low and you want to rest your mind
Well, just run and fetch another little glass of wine
Yeah, just run and fetch another little glass of wine
Track Name: He Moves Though The Fair
My young love said to me, 'My mother won't mind,
And my father won't slight thee for your lack of kine’ *
He went away from me and this he did say
'It will not be long, love, till our wedding day’

He went away from me and he moved through the fair
And slowly I watched him move here and move there
He went his way homeward with one star awake
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake

The people were saying no two were e'er wed
But one has a sorrow that never was said
And I smiled as he passed with his goods and his gear
And that was the last that I saw of my dear

I dreamt last night that my young love came in
He came in so sweetly, his feet made no din
He stepped up beside me, and this he did say
'It will not be long love, till our wedding day
It will not be long love, till our wedding day’

*In old English, “kine” refers to cattle, here referred to in terms of assets for the dowry
Track Name: St Teresa
She down on the corner, just a little crime
When I make my money, got to get my dime
Sit down with her baby, wind is full of trash
She bold as the street light, dark and sweet as hash

Way down in the hollow, leavin' so soon
Oh St. Teresa higher than the moon

Reach down for the sweet stuff, when she looks at me
I know any man sees you like I see
Follow down the side street movin' single file
She say, That’s where I'll hold you, sleeping like a child

Way down in the hollow, leavin' so soon
Oh, St. Teresa, higher than the moon

Just what I've been needin', feel it rise in me
She say, Every stone a story, like a rosary

Way down in the hollow, leavin' so soon
Oh, St. Teresa, higher than the moon

Are you cold up in the sky
Are you cold up in the clouds
Is there something you forgot to tell me
Tell me
Tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me

Show me my Teresa, feel it rise in me
Every stone a story, like a rosary
Track Name: This Love Will Carry
It’s a thin line that leads us and keeps us all from shame
Dark clouds quickly gather along the way we came
There's fear out on the mountain and death out on the plain
There's heartbreak and heartache in the shadow of the flame

CHORUS
This love will carry
This love will carry me
I know this love will carry me

The strongest web will tangle, the sweetest bloom will fall
And somewhere in the distance we try and catch it all
Success lasts for a moment and failure's always near
You look down at your blistered hands as turns another year

CHORUS
This love will carry
This love will carry me
I know this love will carry me
This love will carry
This love will carry me
I know this love will carry me

So these days are golden, they must not waste away
Time is like that flower and soon it will decay
And though by storms we're weakened, and uncertainty is sure
Like the coming of the dawn it's ours for evermore

CHORUS
This love will carry
This love will carry me
I know this love will carry me
This love will carry
This love will carry me
I know this love will carry me
This love will carry
This love will carry me
I know this love will carry me
Track Name: October Song
The leaves are falling, silhouetted by the sunset
Brushed across a cold October sky
The geese are calling, and it's really anyone's guess
How long before the snowflakes fly

And when I'll be over you, there's just no way to say when
Cuz as it is, I still miss you so
But I keep praying and waiting for that day when
I can finally let you go

And when at last I drift asleep, those dreams of you
Come back to keep me
Wishing I were lying in your arms
Those memories of when we made love
Are just so hard to let go of
Who am I supposed to be
When there's so much of you in me

Still every morning I keep searching for that sunrise
That lets me know this heartache's disappeared
But every evening, all I can see is your eyes
Reminding me that you're not here

Now the leaves are falling and the wind is growing colder
The ground will soon be painted white with snow
And still I wonder, while bidding farewell to October
When I can finally let you go
When I can finally let you go
Track Name: Tell Me What You Ache For
It doesn't interest me what kind of job you’ve got
Where you eat or where you shop
The kind of car you drive
It doesn't interest me how big a house you own
What I really want to know
Is what makes you come alive

I don't want to talk about
How your future's all planned out
That isn't what it's all about to me

CHORUS
Tell me what you ache for
Tell me what you wait for
Tell me what you long for
What you're holding on for
Tell me what you're dreaming
What would give your life real meaning
You've been afraid to pray for
Tell me what you ache for

It doesn't interest me if your planets are aligned
If your signs are well defined
And your career is right on track
It doesn't interest me
If you’re faithful and you're true
If you're not true to you
Then where's the truth in that
I don't want to waste our time
Comparing all our stars and signs
That's not what makes us shine, to me




CHORUS
Tell me what you ache for
Tell me what you wait for
Tell me what you long for
What you're holding on for
Tell me what you're wishing
If there's something that seems missing
That somehow you've been saved for
Tell me what you ache for

BRIDGE
It doesn't frighten me, those secrets deep within you
I won't walk through fire for you but
I'll walk through the fire with you

CHORUS
So, tell me what you ache for
Tell me what you wait for
Tell me what you long for
What you're holding on for
Tell me what you're dreaming
What would give your life real meaning
That deep down your heart breaks for
Tell me what you ache for
Tell me what you ache for
Track Name: Holy Now
When I was a girl, each week
On Sunday, we would go to church
And pay attention to the priest
And he would read the holy word
And consecrate the holy bread
And everyone would kneel and bow
Today the only difference is
Everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

When I was in Sunday school
We would learn about the time
Moses split the sea in two
Jesus made the water wine
And I remember feeling sad
That miracles don't happen still
But now I can't keep track
'Cause everything's a miracle
Everything, Everything
Everything's a miracle

Wine from water is not so small
But an even bigger magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn't one

When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
Like I'm swimming in a sea of it
I used to see a world half there
Heaven's second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
'Cause everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

Read a questioning child's face
And say it's not a testament
That'd be very hard to say
See another new morning come
And say it's not a sacrament
I tell you that it can't be done

This morning, outside I stood
And saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
‘Cause everything is holy now
It used to be a world half-there
Heaven's second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
'Cause everything is holy now

Everything, everything
Everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah holy now
Everything is holy now
Holy now
Track Name: I Can't Stand Up Alone
One of these days I'm gonna take a vacation
To a quiet and a peaceful shore
And I'll cool my feet in those crystal waters
Where I won't have to work anymore

'Cause my burden has got a little heavy
Till I can't stand up all alone
I must lay my head down on one strong shoulder
'Cause I can't stand up all alone

No, you can't stand up all by yourself
You can't stand up alone
You need the touch of a mighty hand
You can't stand up alone

4X

And trouble, I have seen trouble
All around my door
Go away and leave me old man trouble
I don't want your trouble any more

No, you can't stand up all by yourself
You can't stand up alone
You need the touch of a mighty hand
You can't stand up alone

Then a voice came down just like thunder
And a light all around me shone
It said, Get up child, take hold of my hand
You can't stand up all alone

Well you can't stand up all by yourself
You can't stand up alone
You need the touch of a mighty hand
You can't stand up alone

(INST)

Well my burden has gotten so heavy
Till I can’t stand up all alone
Gonna go and find me one strong shoulder
I can’t stand up alone

Well, you can't stand up all by yourself
You can't stand up alone
You need the touch of a mighty hand
You can't stand up alone

You know you can't stand up all by yourself
You can't stand up alone
You need the touch of a mighty hand
You can't stand up alone

You can’t stand up alone
You can’t stand up alone
You can’t stand up alone
Track Name: Pretty Bird
Fly away you little pretty bird
Fly fly away
Fly away little pretty bird
And pretty you’ll always stay

I see in your eyes a promise
Your own tender love you’d bring
But fly away little pretty bird
Cold runneth the spring

Loves own tender flames warm this meeting
And love’s tender songs you’d sing
But fly away little pretty bird
And pretty you’ll always stay

I cannot make you no promises
For love is such a delicate thing
But fly away little pretty bird
For he’d only clip your wings

Fly fly away you little pretty bird
Fly fly away
Fly away little pretty bird
And pretty you’ll always stay

Fly far beyond the dark mountain
To where you’d be free evermore
Fly away little pretty bird
Where the cold winter winds don’t blow

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