Emmylou Harris and Dwight Yoakam join the girl from Kentucky in this fine blend of...
Sue Keogh 2005
Kentucky born Patty Loveless emerged in the mid-eighties, and joined fellow female artists Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, Suzy Bogguss and Nanci Griffith in successfully combining country traditions with a more mainstream, pop feel. It's a sound that has won her CMA and Grammy Awards and 23 top ten hits including "Blame It On Your Heart", "You Can Feel Bad (If It Makes You Feel Better)", "She Drew A Broken Heart" and the Richard Thompson cover, "Tear-Stained Letter".
After a slight loss of momentum in the late nineties she immersed herself in the bluegrass music she grew up with, and in 2001 released the unexpectedly acoustic Mountain Soul, a wonderful return to form.
Ninth album Dreamin' My Dreams is like her back catalogue in miniature; uplifting, commercial country which never loses sight of its mountain roots. The aim doesn't seem to be to break new ground; more it's Loveless getting together with some of her high calibre musician friends to record music she just really likes. It's like an expensive way of making a playlist for her iPod.
With Dwight Yoakam and Emmylou Harris on hand to offer guest vocals, a band made up of the likes of Stuart Duncan, Albert Lee and Bryan Sutton, and long time producer/ husband Emory Gordy Jr at the mixing desk, there's not a lot that can go wrong.
Opener "Keep Your Distance" sees her revisiting her fondness for Richard Thompson. And its great to hear her hollering out Delbert McClinton's "Same Kind Of Crazy". But it's on the bluegrass tracks "Never Ending Song of Love" and "Big Chance" where she shines brightest, with her voice at its most powerful and plaintive.
Some of the songs do sound best in their original form though, such as "My Old Friend The Blues", which suited Steve Earle's whiskey soaked, weary drawl so perfectly. And the title track is lovely, but Alison Krauss and Union Station's more delicately spun revival of this old Crystal Gaylesong on this years Lonely Runs Both Ways is the one which imprints itself in your memory.