Thu., March 22, 7 p.m., Fri., March 23, 8 p.m. and Sat., March 24, 8 p.m. 2012
A native of South Charleston, W. Va., Kathy Mattea has enjoyed a career as a country singer with affinities to folk music and bluegrass. Mattea’s string of ’80s and ’90s full-lengths still sound fresh today — you should begin with 1986’s Walk the Way the Wind Blows, but her 1992 Lonesome Standard Time is a frequently inspired record. A first-rate interpreter, Mattea has recorded tunes by the likes of Tim O’Brien and Nanci Griffith, bringing notice to those songwriters. Mattea is a valuable figure: Her music amounts to a bracing antidote to the conservatism usually associated with Nashville, and her 2008 full-length Coal is a populist landmark. In addition, Mattea has worked to further environmental issues such as climate change. Still, it’s her bluegrass-tinged vocals and her understated use of Celtic music — not to mention her sharp ear for the right song — that make her a delight.