1986's WALK THE WAY THE WIND BLOWS was Kathy Mattea's breakthrough album, and while it paved the way for Mattea's later more pop-oriented projects, it remains one of her rootsiest and most satisfying efforts.
Surrounded by zesty acoustic arrangements, Kathy Mattea finds a commercial niche on her third album; both the title cut and her perky version of Nanci Griffith's "Love at the Five and Dime" cracked the top 10. Supported by an all-star bluegrass lineup including New Grass Revival members Pat Flynn and Bela Fleck, plus Buddy Spicher and Tim O'Brien, Mattea convincingly suggests the literate, earnest ethos of the singer-songwriter with material like "Train of Memories." Yet, she still somehow preserves a sensual, rural identity elsewhere, especially on the ode to home, "Leaving West Virginia," one of her richest vocal takes.
~ Roy Francis Kasten