Born the daughter of a coal miner in Pikeville, Ky., Patty Loveless comes naturally by her versatile, powerhouse voice, with a range that’s as suited to radio-friendly barnburners as it is to haunting, mournful ballads. She started writing songs and performing with her brother Roger as a teen, and early connections with Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner helped Loveless cut her teeth in the music business.
Loveless’ musical background has always been multi-faceted — bluegrass greats including Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe were as much a part of her early inspirations as were the headlining country acts of the day. She also frequently sang rock ‘n’ roll as a young performer. Those diverse roots have remained a part of Loveless’ sound throughout her career, and her best 20 songs range in style from stone-cold country to rock to twangy bluegrass.
Since signing her first major-label record deal in the mid-’80s, Loveless has ascended to legend status in Nashville, consistently delivering both sonic diversity and dynamic emotional nuance in her music. She has collaborated with the likes of George Jones, Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill, brought mainstream attention to the bluegrass genre and won CMA Awards, ACM Awards and Grammys over the course of her career.
Loveless is also known as a master interpreter: She almost never wrote her own songs, choosing instead to work with some of Nashville’s most venerable songwriters and put her musical signature on each of the songs she recorded. Despite the fact that she worked with many different songwriters, and despite the range of her musical interests, each of Loveless’ songs is cohesively her own, imprinted with her strong sense of musical self, vocal vulnerability and layered, story-focused detail.
It’s tough to pick just 20 top songs from Loveless’ career, but Taste of Country has narrowed down our favorites — ranked. Scroll through the list below to see if your favorites made the cut!
She’s That Kind of Girl: The Top 20 Patty Loveless Songs
From classic earworms to soulful ballads, Kentucky-born country titan Patty Loveless can do it all. Here are 20 of her best songs.
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