Mountain Soul II —
With four platinum albums under her belt, Patty Loveless is still proving her music is as priceless as precious metal to the country music world. Since her childhood in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Loveless has been tied to the country scene. She recalls listening and singing along with artists at the Grand Ole Opry as her mother mopped the floors.
“My father loved the mountain bluegrass sound of the Stanley Brothers, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and Bill Monroe,” Loveless, 52, explains. “He took me to see Lester, Earl and the Foggy Mountain Boys perform on top of a concession stand during an intermission at a local drive-in theater. I was only six years old, and I can still remember that moment to this day.”
In the late 1980s and throughout the ’90s, the songstress dominated the country charts with hits such as “Don’t Toss Us Away,” “Timber, I’m Falling in Love,” “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” and “I Try to Think About Elvis.”
Mountain Soul II comes with a unique ensemble of talents. Fiddlers Stuart Duncan and Deanie Richardson, Dobro player Rob Ickes, as well as the vocal discovery of 16-year-old backup singer Sydni Perry, are all included.
Though the sound may be a detour, the song genres are not. The album’s seventh track, “Friends in Gloryland,” is an example of one of the traditional gospel songs the album features. A more folksy sound can be heard in Barbara Keith’s “Bramble and the Rose.” Loveless performs a moving harmony with Emmylou Harris in the artist’s original song, “Diamond in My Crown.”
Southern Voice —
In only 15 years, Louisiana boy Tim McGraw has sold more than 40 million units and dominated the charts with 30 No. 1 singles. He’s won three Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, 10 American Music Awards, three People’s Choice Awards and numerous others. The first single from Southern Voice, “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You,” is an up-tempo, tongue-in-cheek tale about the price paid for loving a woman who loves designer labels, penned by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and singer-songwriter Brett James.
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers
Brothers Larry, Steve and Rudy have definitely grown since their humble start, and it can be seen in their new album, the first studio CD from the guys since 1992. This latest effort will draw listeners with the classic sounds only the Gatlin Brothers could create, but Pilgrimage is far from something that’s been heard before. The typical country track about life, loneliness and love can be heard in “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today,” whereas “Penny Annie” is an acoustic pleasure about the loss of innocence.
• Former WWE Women’s & Divas Champion Mickie James may soon announce she plans to try her hand at country music. James has signed a management deal with Nashville-based agent Sherry Massaro of Skyline Management Group.
• A special collectors edition of Lady GaGa’s new album The Fame Monster will include a lock of the singer’s hair. Other items in the special release include a collectable puzzle, Lady GaGa paper doll and personal notes from the singer.
• Country singer Garth Brooks has announced he’s making his country comeback by hosting a series of shows at the Wynn Las Vegas resort’s Encore theater starting this month. The 47-year-old singer had been retired since 2001.
• Singer Al Martino, who played the Frank Sinatra-type role of Johnny Fontane in The Godfather, died in October at his childhood home near Philadelphia. He was 82.