Celebrity Series of Boston Announces Special Guest Artists to “NPR’s Mountain Stage Radio Show Hosted by Kathy Mattea”
Special guests Rosanne Cash, Loudon Wainwright III, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, and Ali McGuirk join host Kathy Mattea for a live taping of the acclaimed NPR radio show at Berklee Performance Center on December 4, 2022
(For Immediate Release, Boston—October 11, 2022) Celebrity Series of Boston announces special guest artists for “NPR’s Mountain Stage Hosted by Kathy Mattea” at the Berklee Performance Center on Sunday, December 4 at 7pm. Rosanne Cash, Loudon Wainwright III, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, and Ali McGuirk join Mattea for a star-studded live taping of the renowned show, a mainstay of NPR Music and West Virginia Public Broadcasting for nearly forty years. The live taping will be released later in December on “Mountain Stage” affiliates, including WUMB-FM in Boston, where the show is heard Saturday afternoons at 2pm.
“There’s something quintessentially West Virginia about ‘Mountain Stage,’” says Kathy Mattea, who took over hosting duties from Larry Groce in 2021. “It’s a culture steeped in humility and generosity, which makes for a groundedness, for a sense of continuity and community that I think artists are really drawn to.”
Host Kathy Mattea, a Grammy-winning country and folk artist, takes the stage alongside Rosanne Cash—hailed by Rolling Stone as “one of the most ambitious and literary songwriters of her generation”—in her return to Celebrity Series for the first time since 2014.
Loudon Wainwright III, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, and Ali McGuirk make their Celebrity Series debuts. For more than fifty years, Wainwright has written and performed heartfelt songs that continue to chronicle all the ups and downs of his life with his characteristic wit, honesty, and humor. Tuttle, praised for her "expressive, crystalline voice and astounding flat-picking guitar skills" (Rolling Stone Country), represents roots music's new generation and appears with Golden Highway, her brand-new bluegrass band. Raised in Cambridge and Somerville, singer-songwriter Ali McGuirk now calls Burlington, Vermont home. McGuirk has been praised for her powerful, soulful voice and her songwriting that blends and spans genres. WGBH praised her “fervent blend of R&B, folk, and classic soul.”
CALENDAR LISTING INFORMATION:
Celebrity Series of Boston Presents: “NPR’s Mountain Stagehosted by Kathy Mattea”featuring Rosanne Cash, Loudon Wainwright III, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, and Ali McGuirk
Sunday, December 4 at 7pm
Berklee Performance Center (136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston)
NPR’s Mountain Stage radio show—produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting—comes to Berklee Performance Center with a star-studded showcase artists of the Americana, folk, and bluegrass artists. Hosted by Kathy Mattea and featuring Rosanne Cash Loudon Wainwright III, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, and Ali McGuirk.
ABOUT MOUNTAIN STAGE
For nearly forty years, Mountain Stage has stood as one of the most acclaimed and enduring programs in public radio history, broadcasting thousands of raw, unforgettable live performances by rising stars and veteran legends alike from the series’ home in Charleston, West Virginia.
Launched in 1983 by Larry Groce, former executive producer Andy Ridenour, and the late chief engineer Francis Fisher, Mountain Stage began as a regional production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting before quickly gaining NPR distribution and expanding its reach to a national audience. Bookings on the two-hour, Sunday-afternoon program were eclectic, with each episode showcasing a handful of artists across a broad range of styles and genres, and audiences responded favorably to the unique mix of down-home talent and household names. Though any number of early events could be credited with helping to fuel the show’s remarkable rise—some point to the breakout success of West Virginia natives like Tim O’Brien and Kathy Mattea—most agree that it was R.E.M.’s 1991 appearance that marked an indelible turning point in the Mountain Stage story.
“We got a call out of the blue asking if we’d like to have R.E.M. on the show,” says Groce, who’d hosted Peter Buck on the program the year before. “The band had just hit #1 with Out of Time, but they’d announced that they weren’t going to tour, so the demand to see them was stupendous. I think they only did three shows: SNL, MTV Unplugged, and Mountain Stage.”
While the performance raised Mountain Stage’s profile with artists and audiences around the world, the series remained true to its Appalachian roots, maintaining the same small, tight-knit staff and commitment to embodying the warmth, honesty, and openness of West Virginia and its people in everything they did. The decades to come would yield countless more iconic performances from an incredibly diverse array of guests—but each and every artist found themselves treated with the same respect and hospitality as the last, regardless of whether they were Grammy-winning superstars or fresh-faced rookies making their radio debut.
These days, Mountain Stage can be heard on nearly 300 public radio stations nationwide (and globally via NPR Music), but its heart and soul remain firmly planted in Charleston, WV, where the series continues to present world class performances with the same passion, dedication, and curiosity that’s guided it from the start.
ABOUT KATHY MATTEA
Kathy Mattea is among the most successful and respected female country artists of her era, infusing 1980s country with a fresh, stripped-down style and a unique blend of traditional country roots and attention to the stories being told. Growing up outside Charleston, West Virginia, Kathy’s tastes were eclectic.
“I just wanted to play music with people. So, I would do folk music in my church. And then the guy who played guitar in the folk music group also had the local garage band, so I’d be playing rock and roll songs in between. And then my friend’s dad had a bluegrass band, so I’d go jam with him and learn all the bluegrass songs. I was like, “Anything!”
Her love of traditional country was solidified after she left West Virginia University and took a job as a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. It broadened when she started earning extra money singing on demo tapes for songwriters pitching their tunes on Music Row.
After signing a recording contract with Mercury, Kathy teamed with independent producer Allen Reynolds. Their creative alliance resulted in hit singles for more than a decade, including “Love at the Five and Dime” (1986)—her first Top 10 hit on the country charts, peaking at No. 3—and her biggest No. 1 success, “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” which captured the 1988 CMA award for Best Single. Mattea cemented her star status by becoming CMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year in 1989 and again in 1990. Her Top 10 hit “Where’ve You Been,” co-written by husband Jon Vezner and Don Henry, earned Kathy the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal. She won again at the Grammys in 1993 with her Gospel-influenced Christmas album, “Good News.” After a mining disaster in her home state killed twelve miners in 2006, she came out with “Coal” (2008, produced by Marty Stuart), filled with songs about mining life and its repercussions, as a tribute, she said, “to my place and my people.”
ABOUT ROSANNE CASH
One of the country’s pre-eminent singer-songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums that have earned four Grammys and 12 additional nominations. Cash is also an author of four books including the best-selling memoir “Composed,” which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, The Oxford American, and more. A new book, “Bird on a Blade,” combines images by artist Dan Rizzie with Cash’s lyrics.
In addition to touring, Cash has partnered in programming with Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Library of Congress. Cash was awarded the SAG/AFTRA Lifetime Achievement Award for Sound Recordings in 2012, and the 2014 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts. She was a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist in 2015/16 and was a 2015 Artist-In-Residence at the Country Music HOF and Museum. She is currently Artist-in-Residence at NYU. She is one of only a handful of women to be elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2017/18, she was a resident artistic director at SFJAZZ and will continue her partnership in 2022. In 2018, Cash was awarded the “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award by the AMA and received an honorary doctorate from Berklee. In 2021, Cash was the first female composer to receive the MacDowell Medal, awarded since 1960 to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to American culture.
ABOUT LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III
Loudon Wainwright III is a 2010 Grammy Winner (Best Traditional Folk Album) for “High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project,” and a nominee for two previous Grammy awards for “I'm Alright” and “More Love Songs.” He’s the winner of the Best Album of 2009 for “High Wide & Handsome” per NPR's Ken Tucker (Fresh Air & Entertainment Weekly magazine). “High Wide & Handsome” was also named among the year's best per Village Voice, No Depression, FolkWax and fRoots. His songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Earl Scruggs, Mose Allison, Big Star, Freakwater, Norma Waterson, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and Rufus Wainwright.
His film acting credits include Judd Apatow's “Knocked Up” (for which he also recorded the soundtrack) and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”; Christopher Guest's “For Your Consideration”; Cameron Crowe's “Elizabethtown”; Martin Scorsese's “The Aviator”; Tim Burton's "Big Fish”; “28 Days” alongside Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, and Steve Buscemi; “Jacknife” alongside Robert De Niro and Ed Harris; and Neil Simon's “The Slugger's Wife.”
Television acting credits include: “Parks and Recreation” (with Amy Poehler); “Undeclared” (with Seth Rogen & writer/producer Judd Apatow); “Grounded for Life”; “Ally McBeal”; “The T.V. Show” (with Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, Billy Crystal) where he played keyboard with the early Spinal Tap, which made its first appearance on this program; a recurring role on “M*A*S*H” and a role as the original musician/sidekick on “The David Letterman Show.”
ABOUT MOLLY TUTTLE & GOLDEN HIGHWAY
Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway—her brand-new band of bluegrass virtuosos featuring mandolinist Dominick Leslie, banjoist Kyle Tuttle, fiddle player Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, and bassist Shelby Means—will tour the United States in 2022 in support of Tuttle’s forthcoming Nonesuch Records debut.
An award-winning guitarist and songwriter, native Californian Molly Tuttle continues to push her songwriting in new directions and transcend musical boundaries. Since moving to Nashville in 2015, she has worked with many of her peers and heroes in the Americana, folk, and bluegrass communities, winning Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2018 Americana Music Awards. Tuttle’s 2019 debut album, “When You're Ready,” received critical acclaim, with NPR Music praising its “handsomely crafted melodies that gently insinuate themselves into the memory,” and the Wall Street Journal lauding Tuttle’s “genre-boundary-crossing comfort and emotional preparedness,” calling the record an “invigorating, mature and attention-grabbing first album.”
Tuttle’s accolades also include Folk Alliance International’s honor for Song of the Year for “You Didn’t Call My Name,” from her 2017 “Rise” EP, and consecutive trophies for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year; she was the first woman in the history of the IBMA to win that honor.
During the pandemic, Tuttle recorded a covers album, “…but i'd rather be with you,” which was released in August 2020. The record, which features guest vocals from Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith and Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor, includes songs by musicians ranging from FKA Twigs to Cat Stevens, Rancid to Karen Dalton, and The National to the Rolling Stones. The New Yorker’s Jay Ruttenberg, in praising her rendition of the Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow,” says: “In Tuttle’s reading, the song uses a bluegrass spirit to look to the past—and a feminist allegiance to peek at the future.”
ABOUT ALI MCGUIRK
Blending classic soul power with a folk songwriter lyricism, Ali McGuirk has the rareability to silence a room with just a few words of a song. With a voice that is raw and sultry and a style rooted in improvisation, her sets are a hypnotic and intimate journey. Growing up just outside Boston, McGuirk doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a singer. By college, after a couple decades of absorbing ’90s r&b,’70s singer-songwriters and classic soul of every era, McGuirk found her own aesthetic: earthy, pure, propelled by a voice capable of whispering dark truths or belting out big hooks on her originals. Boston responded with a wave of love. The Boston Globe named her an “artist to hear.” She racked up nominations and wins at both the Boston Music Awards and New England Music Awards. Her standing-room-only residency at Somerville’s Bull McCabe’s Pub delivered electric performances.
McGuirk’s recent debut for Signature Sounds, Til It’s Gone (September 16, 2022) is a sublime set of songs that pairs her trademark soul sound with rootsy turns and raw rock ‘n’ roll detours. Under The Radar premiered the single “X Boyfriends,” calling it, “A spellbinding work of timeless soul beauty, offering a tasteful fusion of classic stylings with a bright modern sheen.” and WBUR noting, “McGuirk lays deep in a soulful pocket, a zone in which she ultimately thrives.”
McGuirk co-produced Til It’s Gone with Jonah Tolchin (a star singer-songwriter in his own right) and a set of session legends: Little Feat guitarist/mandolinist Fred Tackett, organist Larry Goldings (James Taylor, Norah Jones), singer Valerie Pinkston (Ray Charles, Luther Vandross), percussionist Lenny Castro (Stevie Nicks, Stevie Wonder). They provided the astounding chops, but the true magic of the album comes from McGuirk’s singular voice as both singer and songwriter. The nine tracks run from intimate introspection to wider meditations on oppression and justice, from tough r&b and tender soul to big rock guitar and twangy folk. And McGuirk's voice – bold, buttery, spellbinding – carries each song to the next til they’re gone.
ABOUT CELEBRITY SERIES OF BOSTON
Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers – from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more – to Boston’s major concert halls for 84 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives, and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience – on stages, on streets, in neighborhoods—everywhere.
Celebrity Series of Boston is grateful to our 2022/23 Season Sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, 2022/23 Neighborhood Arts Presenting Sponsor Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, and to the many individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose support helps fulfill our mission to present performing artists who inspire and enrich our community. Individual and institutional supporters include Jill & David Altshuler, Leslie & Howard Appleby, the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, Julia Byers & Steven Holtzman, Deloitte, D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., Foley & Lardner LLP, Kathleen & Chris Gaffney, Harriet & David Griesinger, The Klarman Family Foundation, Peter & Anna Kolchinsky, George & Lizbeth Krupp, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Richard K. Lubin Family Foundation, Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Eleanor & Frank Pao, Stephen C. Perry & Oliver Radford, The Rabb Family Foundations, Cynthia and John S. Reed Foundation, The Reopen Creative Boston Fund administered by the Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Reuben Reynolds & Bill Casey, Royal Little Family Foundation, Sally S. Seaver, PhD, Stifler Family Foundation, Belinda Termeer, Susan & Michael Thonis, U.S. Small Business Administration, Dorothy & Stephen Weber, Yawkey Foundation, Anonymous (3), and many others.