Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 4: Country music singer Patty Loveless is 57-years-old today.


Born Patty Lee Ramey in Pikeville, Kentucky and raised in Louisville, Patty Loveless emerged on the country music scene in late 1986 with her first self-titled album. She became a star due to her unique blend of honky tonk and country-rock, coupled with an emotional ballad style.

Her late-1980s records earned her comparisons to Patsy Cline. Most critics agree she truly came into her own as an artist in the early 1990s.

Throughout her career, Loveless has been one of the most popular female singers of the Neo-traditional country movement, although she has also recorded Country, pop and Bluegrass albums.

Loveless, who is a distant cousin of Country music legends Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle, has charted more than forty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including five Number Ones.

Patty has recorded fourteen studio albums. In the U.S. four of these albums have been certified platinum, while two have been certified gold. She is the 65th member of the Grand Ole Opry.

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Mountain Soul

Patty's father was a coal miner, Her older sister, Dottie Ramey, was an aspiring country singer, and performed often at clubs in Eastern Kentucky, with her brother Roger Ramey. They performed under the stage name, "The Swinging Rameys." Traveling with Dottie and Roger to Fort Knox in 1969, and hearing her sister perform on stage, Patty Ramey decided that she would like to become a performer as well.

When her sister Dottie married in 1969 and quit performing, Roger Ramey convinced Patty to perform onstage for the first time at a small country jamboree in Hodgenville, Kentucky called the "Lincoln Jamboree." She was terrified at first, but grew more confident during the evening. The five dollars she was paid that night was the first money she ever earned.

Patty and Roger started singing together at several clubs in Louisville Kentucky, under the name "Singin' Swingin' Rameys." A local radio announcer, Danny King with a country radio station in Louisville was a big supporter of the Ramey act.

Roger moved to Nashville in 1970 and became a producer with The Porter Wagoner Show. Patty followed her brother a year later. Roger took Patty to Wagoner's office and introduced her. Roger was able to convince Wagoner to listen to his sister sing, and she performed a song she wrote for their father, John, called "Sounds of Loneliness." Wagoner agreed to help her out. Wagoner introduced them to his singing partner at the time, Dolly Parton, and invited her to travel with him and Dolly Parton on weekends during the summer.

In 1973 Bill Anderson, Connie Smith, the Wilburn Brothers, and Jean Shepard were scheduled to appear in a touring Grand Ole Opry show in Louisville Gardens. However, Jean Shepard was caught in a flood, and she wasn't able to make it in. Danny King arranged for Patty and Roger to replace her.

The Wilburn Brothers listened to Patty Ramey and Doyle Wilburn invited her to work with their band to replace their female singer, to which Patty Ramey agreed. Between 1973 and 1975 Patty Ramey traveled with the Wilburns on weekends and during the summers when school was out.

After graduation from High School in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1975 Patty Ramey became a full-time member of the Wilburn Brother's band as their lead female singer. About this time she met the Wilburn's new drummer, Terry Lovelace. When Dolyle Wilburn learned about their romantic relationship, he told Patty to break it off. Instead, Patty quit the Wilburns and left with her boyfriend for western North Carolina. In early 1976, she married Terry Lovelace and began performing with him in a pickup-band based in Kings Mountain.

In North Carolina, Patty and her husband Terry played in a circuit of small bars and concert halls. She sang covers of late 70's rock songs. (She eventually changed her stage name to "Loveless" instead of "Lovelace" so as not to be confused with a porn actress with a similar name.)

In the early '80s, after she and her husband separated, Patty returned home and hired her brother Roger as her manager. After traveling to Nashville to record demos of country songs, she landed a publishing deal with Acuff-Rose and moved to Nashville permanently in 1985. Her demo tape impressed MCA exec Tony Brown enough that he offered her a contract later that year.

Loveless released her first chart single, "Lonely Days, Lonely Nights," and her self-titled debut album in 1986. She enjoyed some modest success, but didn't really make a splash until the 1988 follow-up, If My Heart Had Windows, which gave her two Top Ten hits with the title song and "A Little Bit of Love."

In 1988, she released the follow-up album that made her a star, Honky Tonk Angel. "Timber, I'm Falling in Love" became her first number one hit in 1989, and three more singles - "Blue Side of Town," "Don't Toss Us Away," and "The Lonely Side of Love" - reached the Top Ten before year's end, by which time Loveless had married her producer Emory Gordy, Jr.. In 1990, the album's fifth single, "Chains," became her second number one.

Her next album, On Down the Line, came out later that year and brought her two Top Five hits in the title cut and "I'm That Kind of Girl." Following 1991's Up Against My Heart and its Top Five hit "Hurt Me Bad (In a Real Good Way),"

Loveless made some major changes in her career. She parted ways with her brother as manager and switched labels to Epic, taking husband Gordy with her as producer; moreover, she was forced to undergo throat surgery to repair her vocal cords before she was able to complete her label debut.

Only What I Feel was released in early 1993 and earned Loveless the best reviews of her career to date. The number one hit "Blame It on Your Heart" helped the record go platinum, and "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?" and "You Will" also went Top Ten.

The following year's When Fallen Angels Fly won equal acclaim, not to mention the CMA's Album of the Year Award; it spun off four Top Ten hits in "I Try to Think About Elvis," "Halfway Down," "You Don't Even Know Who I Am," and "Here I Am."

Released in 1996, The Trouble with the Truth continued Loveless' renaissance with two more number one smashes, "You Can Feel Bad (If It Makes You Feel Better)" and "Lonely Too Long," and the Top Five "She Drew a Broken Heart"; that year, she won the ACM's Female Vocalist of the Year Award. However, 1997's Long Stretch of Lonesome didn't fare as well; none of its singles made the Top Ten.

In response, Loveless changed course and embraced the acoustic Kentucky bluegrass of her youth, which was enjoying a renaissance of its own thanks to the movie,  O Brother, Where Art Thou? The result, Mountain Soul, was released in 2001 and earned numerous critical plaudits, also selling decently in spite of its lack of concern for commercialism. Loveless kept that acoustic approach for her 2002 holiday album Bluegrass and White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, and it also informed her proper follow-up, 2003's On Your Way Home. The ambitious Dreamin' My Dreams appeared two years later.

After her release from Sony Nashville, in 2006 Loveless sang a duet with Bob Seger on his Face the Promise album, also collaborating with Solomon Burke on his Nashville album and performing a duet, "Out Of My Mind," with Vince Gill on his album These Days.

She took a two-year sabbatical from touring in 2006 and 2007 though she & Gordy performed several times at the Grand Ole Opry and did a couple of guest appearances at other shows.

Returning to the studio in 2008, Loveless appeared on a track on George Strait's Troubadour album, as well as a track on Jimmy Wayne's Do You Believe Me Now. Later in 2008, Loveless signed a recording contract with Saguaro Road Records, and recorded a tribute album, Sleepless Nights, which was released on September 9. Sleepless Nights received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Country Album.

In 2009, Loveless followed up Mountain Soul with Mountain Soul II. Unlike its predecessor, II contained classic country, mountain, and bluegrass songs, as well as original material instead of strictly bluegrass tunes.

Loveless is scheduled to be inducted into The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame on April 7, 2011.


For more about Patty, visit her Website at -


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