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Patty Loveless

Long Stretch of Lonesome – 1997 (Sony)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Patty Loveless

Patty Loveless always has enjoyed the abilities of putting all her heart into the songs and picking material that matches her emotion-filled voice. And that is once again the case here on an album released three months earlier than first expected.

This is no rush job. Loveless possesses the ability to wring the last ounce of emotion from a song (such as when she sings the chorus and title of "To Have You Back Again," you believe her).

Or when she sings Jim Lauderdale's "You Don't Seem to Miss Me" (with George Jones on backing vocals), "I Don't Want to Feel Like That," Kim Richey's "That's Exactly What I Mean," or the haunting search for love in the title track, the same sensitivity is brought to the table. She seems at home on the fast-paced as well (the Kostas-Jeff Hanna composition "High On Love"). Others may try to make it sound like they know their topic. Loveless often has lived it. Small wonder the soft-spoken singer with a big voice has garnered numerous awards.

Producer Emory Gordy Jr. once again is behind the controls, and he knows just what to do with his wife's voice - let it rip, but he doesn't overmilk it either. The backing players - many of Nashville's session players - put some oomph in their playing as well, staying in the background. The steel playing of Dan Dugmore and Paul Franklin are particular pluses.

Great singing plus great songs equals one great Loveless disc. Again.