Kathy Mattea to ride Santa Train

BRISTOL, Va. (AP) -- Country singer Kathy Mattea says riding the Santa Train will be the highlight of her Christmas this year.

The Cross Lanes, West Virginia, native says the trip will allow her to participate in the lives of the people she has been singing about on "Coal," her latest album.

Released in April, "Coal" is an album of songs about mining and the hardships many miners face in Appalachia. Mattea's grandfathers were both coal miners and she has toured mountaintop removal mine sites in southern West Virginia.

The Santa Train will make its 66th annual trip on Nov. 22, distributing 15 tons of toys and gifts to children at 14 stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. The project is co-sponsored by CSX, Food City and the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce in Tennessee.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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