Sleepless Nights: The Traditional Country Soul Of
Saguaro Road Records, 2008
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/11/2009
You know, I am starting to LOVE me some modern country music industry. Because of its tendency to chew female artists up, use them for four or five years, then spit them out, we are getting some really good music.
(The proceeding statement is meant to be irony. It does not, in any way, support the concept of the 'hit factory,' the continued exploitation of This Year's Model of country music female artist, the abuse taken by the Dixie Chicks, the utter mediocrity of country music radio, or the continued existence of Gretchen Wilson or Toby Keith).
Nevertheless, Patty Loveless has followed the trail blazed by Suzy Bogguss and Dolly Parton; when country music radio was done with her, she decided to make the music she wanted to make. In Loveless' case, she sang with the Grand Old Opry and made one hell of a CD of country standards, Sleepless Nights.
This is classic country music, and Loveless delivers it magnificently. In her own words, "I want to inspire and remind people of what country is made of." With covers of George Jones ("Color Of The Blues"), Hank Williams ("Cold, Cold Heart"), Webb Pierce ("There Stands The Glass"), and Ray Price ("Crazy Arms"), this is a veritable encyclopedia of classic country music, some of the greatest American songs ever recorded. Loveless' vocals are sharp, clear and perfect for the material, and her session musicians and production (the disc was produced by her husband and long-time collaborator Emery Gordy, Jr.) are flawless.
My favorite tracks, however, have to be Loveless' energetic, powerful takes on "Why Baby Why" (again, originally by George Jones) and the often-covered classic "He Thinks I Still Care.” Both sound fresh and new despite their venerable stature.
Sleepless Nights is an incredible CD of traditional country by a gifted artist. Fans of the genre should not miss it.
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