Patty Loveless

If My Heart Had Windows

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Patty Loveless' second album didn't set the world on fire when it appeared in 1988, but it did contain a monster single in the title track written by Dallas Frazier. Loveless was a modern singer who sang in a true traditionalist twang. She had a mountain voice that was suited particularly well to the new wave in "neo-traditionalist country," and her producer/husband, Emory Gordy, Jr., knew exactly how to combine the two. A prime example is her reading of Steve Earle's "A Little Bit in Love," which walks the line between rockabilly and jump boogie. This is one of those great Connie Smith-styled strutters on which a honky tonk piano, steel guitar whining around the acoustic six-strings, and thumping upright bass work like a charm. Loveless has enough growl in her voice to not only get the tune across but make it her own. The tight and unobtrusive string arrangement, acoustic guitars, and bassline on an uplifting tune like "You Saved Me" offer Loveless everything she needs to dig in and wrench every ounce of gratitude out of the lyric. There are other notables here in Eric Kaz's "Once in a Lifetime" and Pat Bunch's swaggering "Baby's Gone Blues." In sum, this, like virtually every record Loveless has ever made, is worth owning if you can find it. Her integrity, down-home sincerity, and utterly stunning voice have helped to create a streak of fine recordings and chart success that continues to this day.

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