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UCSB Arts & Lectures Presents Mountain Stage Hosted by Kathy Mattea at The Granada Theatre

February 4 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm PST

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents a live taping of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Mountain Stage with Kathy Mattea on Sunday, February 4 at 6:30 p.m. at The Granada Theatre

Featuring special guests Brett Dennen, Craig Finn, Ben Lee, Judith Owen and Raye Zaragoza


  • UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Mountain Stage with Kathy Mattea
  • Sun, Feb 4 | 6:30 p.m. (note special start time) | The Granada Theatre  
  • This can’t-miss live recording session led by Kathy Mattea features special guests Brett Dennen, Craig Finn, Ben Lee, Judith Owen and Raye Zaragoza
  • $100 gold circle (preferred seating) / $65 / $50 / $35 / $19 UCSB students (Current student ID required) (A Granada facility fee will be added to each ticket price)
  • Tickets & Info: www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu or call (805) 893-3535

“A radio show like no other.” – Martina McBride

“Beyond the world-class performances, beyond the collaborative atmosphere, beyond how much fun it is, I think the show offers a really important insight into the people and the culture that makes West Virginia so special, and I’m always thrilled to help share that with the world.” – Kathy Mattea

Santa Barbara, CA – UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Mountain Stage with Kathy Mattea on Sunday, February 4 at 6:30 p.m. at The Granada Theatre. For 40 years, Mountain Stage has been one of the most beloved programs in public radio history. Produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the eclectic, authentic and unpredictable show’s varied guests have included iconic artists from John Prine and Townes Van Zandt to Wilco and Phish. Under the leadership of Grammy Award-winning country and bluegrass star Kathy Mattea since 2021, Mountain Stage continues to bring surefire energy and mountain music magic to parts known and unknown. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this live recording session with Mattea and a lineup of special guest bands.

“Kathy Mattea – Turn Off The News (Build a Garden) – Live on Mountain Stage” (Mountain Stage)


For nearly forty years, Mountain Stage has stood as one of the most beloved and enduring programs in public radio history, broadcasting thousands of raw, unforgettable performances by rising stars and veteran legends alike from the series’ humble home in Charleston, West Virginia.

“From the start, we wanted to make a show where the music could speak for itself,” says co-founder, artistic director, and longtime host Larry Groce. “We didn’t want to chase trends or build a cult of personality; we just wanted to showcase the kind of art that deserved to be heard.”

Launched in 1983 by Groce, executive producer Andy Ridenour, and 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, to say the least, 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, who began performing on the series well before fame came calling, while others recall the show’s star turn at the Public Radio Program Directors Conference in 1986, when they presented station reps with authentic West Virginia hors d’oeuvres (fresh ramps and hamburgers cut into quarters)—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 behind it, so the demand to see them was stupendous. I think they only did three shows in the US: SNL, MTV Unplugged, and Mountain Stage.”

While the performance undoubtedly 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—John Prine, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Dr. John, Mavis Staples, Townes Van Zandt, Hugh Masekela, Buddy Guy, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Wilco, Phish, and Angélique Kidjo, to name just a few—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.

“There’s something quintessentially West Virginia about Mountain Stage,” says Mattea, who took over hosting duties from 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.”

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, where the series continues to present world class performances with the same passion, dedication, and curiosity that’s guided it from the start.


It’s hard to imagine anyone more suited to serving as the new host of Mountain Stage than two-time GRAMMY Award winner and West Virginia native Kathy Mattea.

“If someone was going to invent a job that combined all of my passions and all of my skills, this would be it,” Mattea reflects. “It’s just the perfect fit in every way.”

Over the course of Mountain Stage’s nearly 40-year run on public radio, the show has become something of a second home for Mattea, who’s appeared as a guest on the Charleston-based program more times than any other female artist (she ranks second overall only to her good friend and fellow West Virginia native Tim O’Brien).

“There’s something quintessentially West Virginia about Mountain Stage,” Mattea explains. “Beyond the world-class performances, beyond the collaborative atmosphere, beyond how much fun it is, I think the show offers a really important insight into the people and the culture that make West Virginia so special, and I’m always thrilled to help share that with the world.”

Born and raised in Kanawha County, Mattea lived in West Virginia until the late 1970s, when she moved to Nashville to pursue her dreams of a career in music. She signed her first record deal in 1983 and charted with a pair of early releases, but it was her acclaimed third album, Walk The Way The Wind Blows, that truly signaled her arrival as a star. The record produced four Top 10 singles at country radio and set the stage for Mattea’s 1987 smash, Untasted Honey, which marked the first of five of her albums to be certified gold. Untasted Honey contained back-to-back #1 country singles, as did 1989’s Willow In The Wind, which helped Mattea take home two consecutive CMA Female Vocalist of the Year awards along with a GRAMMY for Best Female Vocal Performance. The LA Times called her “a performer of limitless potential,” while the Washington Post hailed her as “one of Nashville’s finest song interpreters,” and People described her as “warm, strong, smart and generally splendid.” Over the next three decades, Mattea would go on to record nearly a dozen more albums exploring country, folk, Celtic, and gospel music; collaborate with everyone from Jackson Browne to Townes Van Zandt; notch her first platinum record with a collection of her greatest hits; earn her second GRAMMY Award; top the Bluegrass Albums chart; and garner yet another GRAMMY nomination for Coal, her Marty Stuart-produced exploration of Appalachian mining songs. Mattea’s most recent release, 2018’s Pretty Bird, marked her triumphant return to the studio after nearly losing her voice and prompted glowing profiles from NPR, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and more.

In 2021, Mattea took over as full-time host of Mountain Stage to a warm welcome from loyal listeners around the country. Given the profound effect the show has had on her over the years, the honor’s not one Mattea takes lightly. She sees herself as a steward of the series, a keeper of the flame whose primary responsibility is to carry on the traditions and the legacy that have made Mountain Stage such an integral part of the public radio landscape these past four decades. Like her predecessors, she aims to bring humor, heart, and a whole lot of unforgettable performances to the airwaves, showcasing both rising young talent and legendary veterans while at the same time sharing a taste of the West Virginia she grew up with, a place full of friendly, funny, brilliant people who tend to be too humble and kind to toot their own horns.

“One of the reasons I love this job so much is that it’s not about me,” Mattea explains. “There’s something so rewarding about being able to take whatever success I’ve had in my career and pass that on to the next person, to be able to shine a light on these amazing artists and this wonderful state and this incredibly important institution.”


A social activist, visual artist and songwriter, Brett Dennen has cemented himself as a fixture in American folk music and an inspiration to those who want to do good and create change in the world. The shows he performs and the events he hosts generate more than good vibes. His impact has been to gather like-minded music fans to consistently try to make the world a better place. https://www.brettdennen.live/

Brett Dennen, “This Is Going to Be the Year” (official video)


Best known as the frontman of indie rock bands Lifter Puller and The Hold Steady, songwriter and guitarist Craig Finn’s eloquent lyrics and nuanced, narrative style have secured him a legion of loyal fans. Pitchfork described Finn as “a born storyteller who’s chosen rock as his medium.” https://craigfinn.net/

Craig Finn, “Messing With The Settings” (official video)


Australian musician Ben Lee’s eclectic and eccentric career spans more than 20 solo albums and a host of collaborations with artists from Ben Folds to comedian Margaret Cho to literary legend Tom Robbins. “I’ve always done what seemed fun to me at the time” says Lee of his prolific career. “There is no other compass for me than what is enjoyable… In general, the vibe that is getting you off as an artist is what you have to do. I think artists are most interesting and useful when they follow their own unique rhythm. That’s how you really create and change culture.” https://www.ben-lee.com/

Ben Lee, “Parents Get High” (feat. Washington) (official video)


Proclaimed by Rolling Stone France as “an exercise in style,” Judith Owen’s signature jazz-influenced sound and comedic storytelling is inspired by the chanteuses of the ’40s and ’50s. A comedic actress and master storyteller, Owen’s latest project, Come On & Get It, is rooted in her childhood fascination with the jazz music of some of the ballsiest women of the Jazz and Blues world, including unsung trailblazers – Nellie Lutcher and Julia Lee – whom she discovered hidden on the shelves of her father’s record collection. https://judithowen.net/

Judith Owen, “Why Don’t You Do Right” (official video)


From buoyant indie pop to contemplative folk, Los Angeles-based Raye Zaragoza favors a communal songwriting process that draws inspiration from her Indigenous roots and fellow women collaborators. The LA Times called her 2023 album Hold That Spirit “a torrential cloudburst of jangly folk catharsis.” https://www.rayezaragoza.com/

Raye Zaragoza, “Hold That Spirit” (official video)


Founded in 1959, UCSB Arts & Lectures (A&L) is the largest and most influential arts and lectures organization between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A&L annually presents more than a hundred public events, from critically acclaimed concerts and dance performances by world-renowned artists to talks by groundbreaking authors and film series at UCSB and Santa Barbara-area venues. With a mission to “educate, entertain and inspire,” A&L also oversees an outreach program that brings visiting artists and speakers into local classrooms and other venues for master classes, open rehearsals, discussions and more, serving K-12 students, college students and the general public.

Mountain Stage with Kathy Mattea is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Special thanks to KCRW.

Tickets are $100 gold circle (preferred seating) / $65 / $50 / $35 / $19 UCSB students (Current student ID required) (A Granada facility fee will be added to each ticket price)

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at (805) 893-3535 or purchase online at www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu, or call the Granada Theatre box office (805) 899-2222 or online at granadasb.org

UCSB Arts & Lectures gratefully acknowledges our Community Partners the Natalie Orfalea Foundation & Lou Buglioli for their generous support of the 2023-2024 season.   


Granada Theatre
1214 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101 United States
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