The latest single off Kathy Mattea's new album Pretty Bird, out Sept. 7 via her own Captain Potato label, is a cover of Joan Osborne's "St. Teresa."
Despite its title and Osborne's Catholic upbringing, the opening track off her Grammy-nominated 1995 album Relish has nothing to do with the church. Instead, she tells the story of a woman desperate enough to hit the New York streets with her baby in a stroller and sell drugs.
In Mattea's hands, the song sheds its pop gloss for a rootsier sound that owes more to British and Scottish folk traditions and Appalachian coal mining tunes than Lilith Fair folk-pop -- although if she felt like making that type of record, it'd likely sound amazing and still come from the heart.
Roots standout Tim O'Brien produced the album. Its track list varies from Mary Gauthier's "Mercy Now" to Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe" and the Hazel Dickens-penned title track. "St. Teresa" is the second single off the album, following the online unveiling of a cover of Martha Carson original "I Can't Stand Up Alone" that more resembles Jesse Winchester's live arrangement.
None of these choices should surprise longtime fans of the "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" and "Love at the Five and Dime" singer. Even at her peak of Nashville acceptance, Mattea and her longtime guitarist and collaborator Bill Cooley -- a key player in this project -- wore their roots and country music influences on their sleeves while putting together some of her greatest hits.
Pretty Bird Track Listing
1. "Chocolate on My Tongue"
2. "Ode to Billie Joe"
3. "Mercy Now"
4. "Little Glass of Wine"
5. "He Moves Through the Fair"
6. "St. Teresa"
7. "This Love Will Carry"
8. "October Song"
9. "Tell Me What You Ache For"
10. "Holy Now"
11. "I Can't Stand Up Alone"
12. "Pretty Bird"
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