Always, Patty Loveless connects. Going heart to heart with her listeners, she sings their joys and sorrows. She connects to the ache or tenderness of each song’s lyrics and she takes the connection back - all the way to the soul of country music. Born and bred country, Patty lives that soul, and with Dreamin’ My Dreams she again makes it real. “That title reminds me of how I first felt when I came to Nashville,” Patty says, “I felt I was living my dreams.” With this remarkable album, the dream continues.
Patty’s music reflects the vital richness of an artist at the height of her powers. Gifted with an unfailing ear, Patty has built a 20-year career around exceptional songs - and these are some of her strongest yet. With writers from Steve Earle and Jim Lauderdale to Delaney Bramlett, Richard Thompson and Lee Roy Parnell and the winning team of Patty and her husband and musical soul mate Emory Gordy, Jr., it’s no surprise that this album glistens.
Sony Nashville President and staunch supporter of Patty’s musical artistry, John Grady attests, “In all of the time I’ve worked in Nashville, the two people that have consistently made the best records in town are Patty Loveless and Emory Gordy, Jr.”
“Keep Your Distance” opens the record on an energized note, “Same Kind of Crazy” rocks steady, and sweet melodies like “Never Ending Song of Love” and the title track aim unerringly heartward. There’s wit and good time spirit here and there’s warmth and wisdom and beauty too. “My Old Friend the Blues” evokes the essence of “lonesome,” and “When I Reach the Place I’m Going” is sheer gospel soul.
“This is the most beautiful, poignant, pure country record that I have heard in a long long time, says Sony’s John Grady. “I absolutely adore this record; all of it. I could not be more proud of a piece of music.”
The beauty Patty achieves in her recordings is a natural kind, nothing contrived or forced. “I feel much more confident these days in the way I approach a song,” says Loveless. On my last few records, I’ve just let myself feel a sense of freedom and trust. I’ve made a lot of records and I feel fortunate to be able to continue making them. So now I think, ‘I just want to flow with it. Enjoy it.’” On Dreamin’ My Dreams, the joy is infectious. With a crew of the industry’s finest musicians and Emory Gordy, Jr. and Justin Niebank at the production helm, Patty “flows with it” on a stellar successor to 2003’s On My Way Home and her finest work, from When Fallen Angels Fly to the groundbreaking Mountain Soul.
Patty’s dreams began in childhood. In Pikeville, Kentucky and then nearby Elkhorn City, she grew up into music. A good screenplay writer seeking a subject would relish Patty’s story, for here is the stuff of legend - a down-home girl finding her American dream. From a coal-mining family to the Opry, Patty persevered. Strumming the guitar her dad had given her when she was eleven years old, she followed destiny to the country music capitol. MCA/Nashville signed her, and in 1987, her self-titled debut marked her as a new traditionalist with decidedly contemporary appeal. Her pedigree was impressive: singing with the Wilburn Brothers at 16, befriending Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton at an age when most of her peers were tackling high school algebra. Patty’s five MCA albums poised her toward breakout success. And then the Top Ten hits, a phenomenal run of fourteen, really started happening.
The country music jukebox wouldn’t be the same without “Blame It on Your Heart”, “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?”, “Here I Am”, “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am”, “Halfway Down” and “You Can Feel Bad”. And the industry applauded the increasingly shining star, the CMA honoring its “Female Vocalist of the Year” with “Album of the Year” for When Fallen Angels Fly, and the ACM recognizing the singer as “Female Vocalist of the Year” for two years in succession. Albums like Trouble with the Truth and Long Stretch of Lonesome solidified her gains - eventually, from Tuscaloosa to Tucson, you simply couldn’t drive without at some time hearing fresh or vintage Patty Loveless on the car radio.
“Vintage” might be a key word for Patty. As her career soared, she never lost her respect or fondness for the classic country that had formed her - and the bluegrass and mountain music that laid the foundation for the house of country. Hence, it wasn’t really that much of a surprise that she released Mountain Soul in 2001. Not a surprise for Patty, that is. But for many listeners, the album was a revelation, a return to undiluted country, the clearest water from the well. Critics loved it, so did Patty’s longtime family of fans, and younger listeners, newly hip - by way of Oh, Brother, Wherefore Art Thou? - to old gold, were instantly converted. Here was a master, showing us the way it’s really done.
Dreamin’ My Dreams, in a way, is Mountain Soul-meets-tomorrow. It’s Patty honoring the legacy but also looking forward. And it’s another testimony to “the Loveless Code”: an unshakeable faith in the power of music itself. “You know,” Patty says, “music can be almost anything. It gives a lot of people encouragement, it’s great therapy, it’s a form of freedom-of-speech, and it allows people to relate to others and say, ‘Wow. I’m not the only one who feels that way.” Once again, it’s Patty making connections, bonds that she and her fans share. “I’ve had people come up and try to talk to me and start crying,” Patty remembers. “And I relate. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to meet someone whose music has touched you. And it’s amazing that music has that power - when people tell me that my songs have helped them get through a bad marriage, or help out a loved one over in Iraq. Just the music and the voice, it’s amazing that they can do that.”
On Dreamin’ My Dreams, that amazing voice continues to tell our story. And as the mandolins cascade and the electric six-strings burn, you find that you just can’t shake these songs. They’ve gotten deep inside you.
They’re an intimate gift, really - a gift of a singer who’s been there – and will continue. Patty puts it simply, from the heart: “If I can just be a little part of touching lives through music, that’s wonderful. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Just like the people who touched my life.”