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Patty Loveless finds her way home

By Jeffrey B. Remz, November 2003

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"So, the way I approached it is Emory's grandfather - they called him Poppa Cochran - he actually would tell me stories about his grandfather. I never met him. Of course, he was deceased. When I'd go into the studio, I'd start to think about how Emory felt about his grandfather. It became more personal to me."

Loveless conducted the interview from Dallas, Ga., where Cochran grew up.

So how is it working with your husband?

"Of course, working together, we're always listening to the songs," says Loveless of the man who once upon a time was the bassist for Elvis Presley. "We both have somewhat of the same opinion, but we do differ in opinions sometimes."

"He may hear songs that's just perfect for the project. And, of course, I may not think so. And vice versa. When I go in there, I know it's my record, but at the same time, I feel working with him, I like sharing projects and things like this with other people. He's just as much (a part of) making the record as I am, to me."

"As far as myself, my voice is my instrument, and he and I - we work so well together - I can almost (tell where) he wants me to go with it, and I love the way he works with the musicians, and he's part of the making of the music. He's playing bass, sitting behind the console and producing. It makes him a better producer and allows him to communicate better."

"We always run music by each other, songs by each other. We give our honest opinion with each other. Even if it's something not working in the studio, not going down in the studio as I thought it should be, I don't say anything in front of the other people. I go off in the corner and say 'I'm not sure that instrument is quite working in that song. That kind of relationship, I think, it really works for us."

Loveless first met Gordy in 1986 as a co-producer with Tony Brown, then head of MCA Records and a big Loveless booster. "Like a year later, that's when we took even more interest in each other," says Loveless.

"I think the beauty of him is his love and passion for music and many genres of music," says Loveless, who previously was married to a musician in a rock band for whom she was the singer. "It wasn't one particular (genre). He's turned me on to so much music he shared that with me. I was mainly listening to rock and roll and country and the bluegrass music that I'd been raised on. It was music that I used to listen to when I was living at home with my parents. He just has a lot of passion for great music. I think that's the reason I fell in love with him."

The two married in 1989.

And during the involvement of Gordy, Loveless' career took off starting in 1988 with hits like "Blue Side of Town," "Don't Toss Us Away," "Timber I'm Falling in Love" and "Chains."

The slew of hits continued through 1996: "Blame It On Your Heart," the very emotional "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye" and the very jocular "I Try to Think About Elvis," and number ones "You Can Feel Bad" and "Lonely Too Long."

But then the hits stopped coming as readily. The "Strong Hearts" disc from 2000 yielded no big hits and set the stage for a change with "Mountain Soul."

While looking ahead, Loveless also looks back on "On Your Way Home."

"Last in a Long Lonesome Line" comes off as being about a tough life of "Tears and whiskey, yeah, I spilled my share/but it's the music that's kept me goin' through all of these years/ and there's some songs still need singin'/Before closin' time."

"When I heard the song, I thought it was basically talking about some of those artists who have paved the road, their souls had truly paved the road for country music," says Loveless, who grew up on cousin Loretta Lynn, the Willburns and Dolly and Porter. "They had paved the road for all of us - George Jones, Merle Haggard. I thought about some of these artists that had lived through their songs. When you listen to their music, you can almost see inside this person and the life they lived. They're (putting) their feelings inside this music."

"I got in there and tried to find music, find songs that would be appropriate for the format of radio today, but at the same time making music for the people have been following my career all these years, my audience and my fans that I have developed over many many years. I don't think any of my fans who come to my shows or are in the audience is really surprised by this particular record."

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