Member Since 1988
The daughter of a Kentucky coal miner, Patty Loveless grew up the youngest of seven children. She remembers listening to the Opry when she was just three years old. On Friday and Saturday nights she would sing along while her mother mopped the floors.
Growing up in a household of music lovers, she was influenced by all kinds of music—the pure Appalachian sounds of her native Kentucky, and the rock ’n’ roll and big-band music she heard on the records her brothers and sisters played.
“My father loved the mountain bluegrass sound of the Stanley Brothers, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, and Bill Monroe,” Patty recalls. “He took me to see Lester, Earl & the Foggy Mountain Boys perform on top of a concession stand during an intermission at a local drive-in theater. I was only six years old, and I can still remember that moment to this day.”
At 14, Patty traveled to Nashville, where she auditioned for Porter Wagoner. Soon after, the Wilburn Brothers hired her to replace their departing “girl singer” Loretta Lynn (a distant cousin of Patty’s) and as a staff songwriter.
The “girl singer” ended up marrying the Wilburns’ drummer and moving to North Carolina, where she and her husband performed in area rock groups. The marriage didn’t last, and Patty returned to Nashville and country music, where she first came to light as one of the mid-’80s “new traditionalists.” Her first album, Patty Loveless, was released in 1986; her first Top 10 single, “If My Heart had Windows,” came in the spring of the following year. She married producer Emory Gordy Jr. in 1989; he has been her musical collaborator ever since.
A string of hits in a traditionalist vein followed, among them “Don’t Toss Us Away,” “Timber, I'm Falling In Love” (her first No. 1 hit), and “Hurt Me Bad (In A Real Good Way).” In 1993, she moved to Epic Records, where songs such as “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” and “Lonely Too Long” laced her country with pop elements. Along the way, she won the ACM Award for Top Female Vocalist in 1996 and 1997, CMA Female Vocalist of the Year honors in 1996, and the CMA Album of the Year trophy in 1995 for When Fallen Angels Fly.
In 2001, Patty went back to her roots, releasing her brilliant album Mountain Soul. The disc paid homage to her Kentucky upbringing and the mountain music so beloved by her father. “I felt like I was connecting to my father’s heart,” Loveless says. The music was “a direct line to where I’m from, who I am.” Her 2003 release, On Your Way Home, was another fine effort that merged the acoustic country of Mountain Soul with the honky-tonk sounds of her earlier years. Patty has appeared on recent projects from Bob Seger, George Strait, and Vince Gill as well as her own recently released, Mountain Soul II.
Mountain Soul II