Her voice may have mellowed but Patty can still rip it up.
Nick Barraclough 2009-11-23
Patty Loveless’s first Mountain Soul album was released in 2001, and was subsequently nominated for a Grammy. It was deeply satisfying to those who, though they enjoyed her reasonably successful forays into the commercial country world with songs like Blame It on Your Heart and I Try to Think About Elvis, knew her heart was in old-time, gospel and bluegrass.
Most women who do well in this sort of music do so with the sweet approach – Dolly Parton and Alison Krauss, for example. Patty, though, rips it up. She has a voice that comes straight out of the mountains; the high, lonesome sound which distinguishes the finest bluegrass musicians. There was once a harshness about her voice, but there has been a mellowing with age which has lent it more depth and a lot more soul.
Behind Loveless is her producer, husband and mentor, Emory Gordy Jr, who cut his teeth in Elvis’s TCB Band and later Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band. He has once again turned out a beautifully-produced sound from musicians whose playing defines Nashville at its most artfully understated.
The disc kicks off with a welcomed re-working of Harlan Howard’s wry Busted and really gets into gear with the gospel material; Working on a Building and (We Are All) Children of Abraham. It concludes with a rare thing, a cover of an Emmylou Harris song, Diamond in My Crown. Emmy is one who seldom writes, but when she does she makes it count.
Ricky Skaggs had his moment in the country mainstream then reverted to his first love of bluegrass. He never looked back, and neither should Patty Loveless if she keeps turning out stuff like this.