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Patty Loveless finds her way home

By Jeffrey B. Remz, November 2003

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"The way he writes is so colorful, and so visual," says Loveless of Crowell. "That's where it becomes very hard for me. I'm always trying to find songs where you're almost standing there looking at a painting."

Loveless made it to the top 20 with the song before it stalled.

Loveless feels that not every audience reaction is generated from playing a big hit from her catalogue.

On her tour earlier this year, Loveless, of course, played "Lovin' All Night."

"I find with this record - it came out Sept. 16, and I've been out (touring) since May - they respond of course to 'Lovin All Night,' but they respond to 'On Your Way Home' like it's a big hit. It's a wonderful surprise. But at the same time, these people have been big supporters of records I've been making for many many years. I just don't want to do music that is so predictable."

Nor does she want to put her finger in the air and see which way the wind is necessarily blowing either.

Loveless says when she first heard the song from Ronnie Samoset and Matraca Berg that would eventually become the title track she "thought I've got to do that song. I've got to record it. It was just the depth of the lyrics. The lyrics were very haunting. Melodically, I thought the song was just something very hypnotizing. Something just pulled me in. I like finding that kind of song. That's when it tells me this song is going somewhere, but you know everybody hears songs differently, hears lyrics differently because everybody's life is different."

"Whenever I go in the studio, I'm always going in there thinking of the songs and thinking of the music," says the Pikeville, Ky. native. "I don't like going in there thinking 'what are we are going to do and how is my label going to market this?'"

"I think for an artist, it's important that you go in there and motivate yourself. You got to grab something that's going to motivate you. There are some songs I go and say I'm so ready to do this today and can't wait to hear it after it's been laid down. That's mostly what I try to think about. I don't really stop to think is this going to get played on the radio, or is this going to be a single. I just go in and let the song become what it's supposed to become."

The album, produced as usual by her hubby Emory Gordy Jr., contains 11 songs and as usual none of them penned by Loveless, who has written very very few songs that made it onto the finished music.

Since she doesn't write, that means Loveless might sift through probably hundreds of songs.

"You go through so many songs," says Loveless of the process so typical for Nashville artists. "For the most part, there are so many that just don't fit, and you do struggle to try to find songs. I struggle to find songs that have lyrics of substance."

Picking songs wasn't an easy proposition.

"We got together in the beginning of the search for these songs. We formed together a little listening party, but it wasn't to listen to this record. We invited all these publishers, (the late songwriter) Harlan Howard was among them. It was different publishing companies, and they came to the party. Sony gave the party. It was like in the middle of the day. Then, Emory and I had pulled songs from previous records that I had done even back to MCA days and had put together a whole collage of Patty Loveless songs and the songs that weren't necessarily singles either and just let it play to give people the kind of music that we were looking for. It seemed like it was going back to the same particular (kind of music) I was trying to develop. It was traditional with an edge. The result was we were receiving songs that took me back to the basics of traditional music, traditional country."

Loveless selected songs from a variety of songwriters. Marty Stuart and Paul Kennerly wrote the leadoff "Draggin' My Heart Around." Jim Lauderdale and Buddy and Julie Miller inked "Looking for a Heartache Like You," both songs adding to the edgy quotient in the music.

"I think I tend to gravitate towards those writers that have a little more edge to their melodies and their songs and do not limit themselves in how they speak out in a song."

The most personal sounding song on the disc is the closing song, "The Grandpa That I Know."

The song opens with the burial of a man who was a farmer and the difficulties of the storyteller in coming to terms with the facts of life. "They all say he looks so natural, but all I see's a cold, dark hole," sings Loveless in the Tim Mensy/Shawn Camp song. "I won't commit this day to memory/that ain't the grandpa that I know."

Loveless first heard the song about 10 years ago when her husband produced an album for Camp, who had a short career with Warner.

"During this time, he recorded that song, and I just fell in love with it. It was just amazing. In the making of my record, Emory brought it to my attention again. I was just a little bit concerned how we could make it more of a female perspective, from a young girl's (viewpoint)."

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