On January 4, 1957, Patricia “Patty” Lee Ramey was born in Pikeville, Kentucky. Her father was a coal miner who, like most of her family, loved music. Sadly, he contracted black lung disease, forcing the family to move from the rural Elkhorn City area so he could receive treatment. Music became Patty’s escape. Her father gave her a guitar when she was eleven. Immediately, she started writing songs with her older brother and performing at local events. AT one of these events, she met the Wilburn’s who invited her to Nashville. Even though they were out of town when she was able to go, at fourteen, she talked her way into Porter Wagoner’s office and played her song Sounds of Loneliness. According to American songwriter Roger Ramey, Patty Loveless’ brother pretend to be the 1 o’clock appointment for MCA president Tony Brown. He was shocked when Ramey entered his office with Patty’s demo, Brown gave him three minutes. He was so impressed he listened to the entire demo. Later, Wagoner asked her to perform with Dolly Parton and himself on weekends. After high school, she became the lead singer for the Wilburn Brother’s band, once held by her distant cousin Loretta Lynn. In 1976, she married the group’s drummer, Tom Lovelace, and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.
She changed the spelling of her last name to Loveless in 1985 after divorcing Lovelace. Later that year, she was offered a publishing contract with Acuff-Rose, so she moved to Nashville. Her second album, If My Heart Had Windows garnered her two top ten songs. However, her third album Honky Tonk Angel helped her become the star she is today. Before 1997, when country music began to trend towards pop, Loveless enjoyed a successful career. She won ACM’s Female Vocalist in and had a string of hit songs. Loveless’ answer to the shift in country music was to return to her bluegrass roots and released Mountain Soul in 2001. Despite little promotion, the album was well-received by music critics. After this album, she released several more in the same genre, including Bluegrass and White Snow: A Mountain Christmas. She released her sixteenth album Mountain Soul II in 2009. These are the 10 best Patty Loveless songs of all time.
10. You Don’t Even Know Who I Am
Loveless’ song has a folk-country feel. The lyrics are a sad story of how a relationship ends, and sometimes you have to go when things are wrong. The poignant details paint a story that the character in the store seemed to be living a life everyone wants, but she was lost in the relationship. Since she felt unseen, she left, knowing it wouldn’t matter anyway. The song has a twist: much like an O’Henry story, the other person in the relationship did the same thing. Loveless’ voice shines over the simple instrumentation. Unfortunately, many people can identify with this song because there is a sense of loss as people grow apart.
9. That’s The Kind of Mood I’m In
The opening of this song has more of a country-pop influence. It’s a bright song about traveling to an unknown destination to recapture a sense of freedom from daily existence. Throughout many of Loveless’ vocals, she exhibits a sense of sass that works well with 90s country vibe of her music.
8. When Angels Fly
The opening chords are a segue into a moody country ballad. It’s about a person who goes through life with many ambitions that didn’t pan out. But has a beautiful night with a stranger, something that she has done before. Even though the character has commitment issues and knows she’s going against the social conventions of life, she is quick to point out that she knows she is a good person. This song speaks to the flawed nature of people and how despite many things we do, we are all one of the universe’s children.
7. You Can Feel Bad
Loveless explores country rock on this track. It’s another resolute breakup song where the heroine in this story isn’t going to break down when her love leaves her but refuses to feel anything other than relief when he leaves. She flips the stereotypes of women grieving when they are left alone by people they trust and instead find empowerment in the situation. The song’s refrain is an excellent tell-off line, letting him know that he can do what he wants, but she doesn’t care.
6. Hurt Me Bad (In A Real Good Way)
Toxic relationships are something many people stay in even though they know they’re wrong because they are comfortable. However, when we leave them, we have the choice to become empowered or go back. Additionally, once you come out of those situations, it opens up the possibility of finding new relationships where you can be authentic.
5. Timber I’m Falling In Love
Loveless goes back to her Kentucky roots for this song using a light bluegrass influence. The feeling of falling in love fast is represented by a tree falling in the forest, creating a loud crash. Sometimes we’re so sure about a relationship it’s hard not to fail quickly and pursue headlong into a relationship.
Loveless brings more of her trademark sass on this lighthearted song about promises to get out of a lousy relationship. Even though some country songs tackle this topic in slower ballads, she makes the songs sound comical that you sometimes can’t leave a person even if the relationship is settling for something less than you deserve.
3. Blame It On Your Heart
Many times we want to blame ourselves when a relationship ends. Yet, this song is about a character who tells it like it is and straight-up lets the guy in the song have it. The punctuating beat in this song feels like resolute steps to liberation from a relationship where you aren’t appreciated. Through the lyrics, Loveless’ lyrics channel a similar message as Cher’s song Save Your Tears. The refrain of the song is about karma when we cheat on someone.
2. I Try To Think About Elvis
This song feels more rock than country. There is no denying early relationships can distract us from day-to-day things in life. Throughout the lyrics, Loveless’ sings about numerous topics from the mundane to the more profound questions in life without the success.
1. How Can I Help You Say Goodbye
This touching ballad is about saying a series of different goodbyes, all of which isn’t death. They chronicle childhood goodbyes like a childhood best friend leaving. The character in the song grows up through the goodbyes in life and ends up divorce. However, there is sadness instead of bitterness. The message from the character’s mama in the middle of the song helps the listener remember that there are constant people in our lives who are always there through life’s ups and downs. The last verse of the song is one of the most painful goodbyes, the death of a parent. Aside from the goodbyes in the song, it’s about the changes we need to go through and that even though they are sad, we’ll make it through them. The soaring music in the background adds to the song’s important message.