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Patty Loveless plays with a strong heart

By Jeffrey B. Remz, September 2000

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Times sure were different back then. Her first five singles never made it higher than 43 on Billboard. Today, it would almost definitely would result in a record company throwing in the towel.

But she hit pay dirt with "If My Heart Had Windows," a cover of a song done by George Jones. The song hit the top 10 in 1988, and Loveless was off and running with a string of top 10 hits, including "Blue Side of Town," "Don't Toss Us Away," (a song from country rock band Lone Justice) her first number one, Kostas' "Timber, I'm Falling in Love" and "Chains."

Loveless also joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1988.

A few changes were soon in store, however. Her career seemed threatened due to laser surgery on her vocal chords, but she made a full recovery.

She broke with Tony Brown, the man who signed her to MCA and inked with Epic. While the parting was amicable, Loveless' feeling was her career was only going to go so far with a label that already had Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood and Wynonna.

The move seemed like an excellent choice from the get go as her first single, the tongue twister "Blame It On Your Heart" reached the top in 1993.

Loveless' longstanding knack for picking good songs seemed proven true with a string of hits including "You Will," the touching "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye," the jaunty, fun "I Try to Think About Elvis" and a few number ones, "You Can Feel Bad" and "Lonely Too Long."

While most of the rest of Nashville was taking a sharp swing towards a pop-based sound, Loveless stuck to her country roots for the most part, letting her strong voice do the talking.

Loveless also captured a few prestigious awards along the way. She won the Country Music Asso-ciation's best country album for "When Fallen Angels Fly" in 1995 and took home female vocalist awards from the Academy of Country Music and the CMA the following year.

A greatest hits package out a few years ago included several new songs, but she didn't set the charts afire.

One wondered if the current scene was passing Loveless by.

She doesn't seem too worried. In fact, Loveless seems happy with her maturation as an artist.

"I feel like I've grown a little bit and come into music that I was influenced by for all of those years. I was 14 when I was hanging with some of the big dogs. Loretta Lynn, Wilburn, Dolly, Porter - those folks taught me a lot about music."

"Today, I'm performing with artists like Loretta Lynn, and she called me up to perform of an old song of hers like I was when I was kid. I said I hope I'm going to remember the words. Even though I hung around those folks all those years, I still remember. When you're around them, it's still like family, (and you) see how far you've come."

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