Oh, what a great voice this lady has! Not just because she sings good old-fashioned country music doused with bluegrass but enjoy herself doing so. After her first Mountain Soul album in 2001, I could hardly bide myself thinking had she plans to make a follow-up? In between it all Loveless released yet another treasure, Sleepless Nights. Made up of country classics it too won her great accolades and, if she keeps singing and recording material like those featured here and utilising the talents of pickers; Ronnie McCoury, Rob Ickes, Al Perkins, Jon Randall, Bryan Sutton, Mike Auldridge, Carl Jackson, Deanie Richardson, Jason Carter and Emory Gordy Jr on upright bass player / producer (who just happens to be her husband too) the trend will long continue. For vocal support she calls on Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Del McCoury and fledgling, 16 year-old Syndi Perry, Carmella Ramsey, Tim Hensley and on the gospel number ‘(We Are All) Children Of Abraham’ —the Burnt Hickory Primitive Baptist Congregation.
While a strong line-up of songwriters are featured, it is with her co-write with Gordy ‘Big Chance’ that gets my feet tapping and heart racing as she dives head long into the action; rarely will you come across a song with such a vibrant rhythm (eat your heart out bluegrass acts across the world, and what better song to be voted the IBMA’s Song of the Year for 2010?). As mighty banjo, upright bass, twin-fiddle, Dobro, acoustic, rhythm guitar and harmony vocals (Ramsey, Hensley) accompany, arguably, Patty’s most spirited singing on the album. With so much good material on offer it would be difficult t separate any —as the likes of ‘Blue Memories’, ‘Handful Of Dust’, the heart-tugging ‘Bramble And The Rose’ (a song I first became familiar with through the singing of Mary McCaslin and the late and her one-time husband, Jim Ringer) and the wonderfully presented ‘Prisoner’s Tears’ carve indelible impressions. The latter possessing wondrous dobro, steel guitar and electric guitar (Tom Britt) lends something extra special, and when in such company as Harlan Howard’s ‘Busted’, the powerful bluegrass cum gospel favourite ‘Working On A Building’ and that is not to forget ‘Fools Thin Air’ (Susanna Clark – Rodney Crowell) that has her sing with wonderful tempered passion and have Perry lend vocal support, plus, Dobro veteran Auldridge, Jackson on banjo, baritone vocals and Richardson.
Fans of a cappella singing are well served via Loveless, Gill and Howard’s superb version of the but brief, ‘Friends In Gloryland’ —that eases, effortlessly into the above noted ‘Children Of Abraham’. ‘Diamond in The Crown’ a Paul Kennerley – Emmylou Harris co-write with Butch Lee (pump organ) and Harris on harmony vocals her only support sees Loveless closes on a sombre but nevertheless powerful note.
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