Kathy Mattea

Kathy Mattea's evolution from country hit-maker to respected trad-folkie isn't a reinvention. It's a return home. Mattea, 53, first made her name in mainstream country in the late 1980s and early '90s with a string of hits, including "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" and "Where've You Been." In 2008 the singer pulled a 180-degree turn with the release of "Coal." The spare and haunting collection of acoustic songs that harked back to her Appalachian roots snagged Mattea a Grammy nomination in the traditional folk category. 7 and 10 p.m. Friday at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.; $26-$30; 773-728-6000 or oldtownschool.org Read the full Kathy Mattea interview
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