Kathy Mattea Can Count on “Eighteen Wheels”


It’s been 25 years since Kathy Mattea won her first CMA Award, presented for her signature single, “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses.” In the upbeat story song, written by Gene and Paul Nelson, a long-haul driver is making his last run before retirement. While country music has delivered countless trucking tunes, such a sentimental one is rare.

“That song got me the first time I heard it,” Mattea told CMT.com in a 2002 interview. “When I hear that record on the radio, I can hear how young I was. There was something real honest about it. That was the real magic of working with [producer] Allen Reynolds. He was really all about heart — finding a song about heart, giving it an honest reading and framing it in a way that didn’t stomp all over it. I always loved that about working with him.”

A West Virginia native, Mattea charted 16 Top 10 country hits and followed “Eighteen Wheels” with back-to-back CMA Awards in the female vocalist category. Take a moment to look in your rearview mirror and enjoy the vintage video for “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses.”