Kathy Mattea, whose 2008 album of Appalachian mining songs, Coal, earned a Grammy nomination and topped the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart, will release the follow-up to that collection on Sept. 11, 2012. Calling Me Home, on Sugar Hill Records, is described by the label as delving even deeper into the Appalachian heritage of the West Virginia-born singer. It marks her 16th studio album, including two holiday-themed projects.

Co-produced by the singer with Gary Paczosa, who has worked with Dierks Bentley, Alison Krauss, Joey + Rory, and Dolly Parton, to name a few, Calling Me Home features liner notes penned by bestselling Kentucky-born author Barbara Kingsolver.

Because she's scored four No. 1 country singles and has CMA Female Vocalist and Grammy honors to her credit, the move to a more traditional folk sound was a something of a creative risk for Kathy, but having gone through the process, first with Coal and now the new album, the gamble was worth it.

"To be a complete novice at something after you've been singing for three or four decades, to feel that humility of 'I don't even know if I'm going to be able to pull this off again,' it's a great gift," Kathy explains. "A lot of times, people go through their whole lives and never get to that place. My big fear when I made Coal was I didn't grow up singing this stuff from when I was young. I've had a commercial music career for decades now. Am I gonna sound like a lounge singer trying to sing Appalachian songs?"

In addition to her respect for traditional folk music, which her ancestors played, while Kathy was in college she took clawhammer banjo lessons and formed a bluegrass band. And even as she was topping the charts with songs such as "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" and the tender "Where've You Been," the former Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum tour guide has always had an appreciation for the roots of country music.

"I feel like I just made the album of my life," she notes. "I articulated something I was put here to say. It's my childhood and life experience of a sense of place and culture and history and family, and of all the music that I've learned and all I've learned performing all rolled into one thing."

Click here for a sneak peek at the new album and more.

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