My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Patty Loveless – ‘Dreamin’ My Dreams’

patty loveless - dreamin my dreamsDreamin’ My Dreams was the last album Patty Loveless recorded for the Epic Nashville label before they closed shop. Some of their artists went to the Columbia Records roster.  Patty instead took a two-year hiatus from touring and recording before going the indie route, signing with Suguaro Records in 2008.  She has since recorded two albums for the label.  While this would be her last album for Epic, Patty delivered nothing less than a first-class set of songs, with some contemporary flavor, well worthy of radio airplay, as well as her signature bluegrass and rootsy album staples.

Though the lead-single, ‘Keep Your Distance’ is as good a track that’s been shipped to radio this decade, it failed to chart, and Epic didn’t release any follow-up singles. The single, written by Richard Thompson is a snappy number with some great guitar licks and a sing-along melody.

She slows things down with Lee Roy Parnell and Tony Arata’s ‘Old Soul’, my favorite track on the set.  The tale of a young heart who, after being hurt and down-trodden by life, is wise beyond her years.  The haunting arrangement and the ache in the vocal combine to make for a punch to the listener.

Laugh too little and you cry too much
Way too long without that gentle touch
Weight of the world resting down in your bones
Pretty soon you’ve got an old soul

Likewise, ‘Nobody Here By That Name’ is reminiscent of her 90s hits.  Smart lyrics, flawless vocals, and a strong-woman spirit underscore the melancholy lyrics. Listening to the song, it’s evident that this is another Tony Arata cut; it’s very much in his style, and he co-wrote this with Pete Wasner.

The album gets back to the tempo with ‘Same Kinda Crazy’, a jazzy-rocking number, later recorded by George Strait.  The tale of two kindred spirits is told with a ferocious vocal from Patty.  ‘Dreamin’ My Dreams With You’, the almost-title track was written by producer-extraordinaire Allen Reynolds.  The song has also recorded by Alison Krauss and Waylon Jennings, among others.

Tracks nine and ten co-exist together perfectly, giving the album a sense of cohesion that all Loveless’s albums from her early Epic days to the present have always shown.  I would have arranged them backwards though, allowing the young-love story of ‘Big Chance’ to be told before the love-lasts theme of ‘Never Ending Song of Love’, a track that starts off slowly but gains momentum slowly as the melody unfolds.  Both are backed by bluegrass instruments.  ‘Big Chance’ was also re-recorded for Patty’s latest Mountain Soul II.

‘My Old Friend The Blues’ is a Steve Earle cover and continues her affection for Steve Earle’s writing, this is one among several Steve Earle cuts in Patty Loveless’s catalog. This one comes from Earle’s landmark debut, Guitar Town.  The song tells of the maddening setting in and loneliness takes over.  And once again, there’s those old familiar blues.

Closing the album is ‘When I Reach The Place I’m Going’, written by Emory Gordy Jr. and Joe Henry .  It’s a gospel-flavored number with fiddles framing the verses, giving the song a sort of mountain feel.

While not a commercial success, with no charting radio singles, and peaking at #29 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, Dreamin’ My Dreams was critically-acclaimed, and rightly so.  This collection of twelve gems, sang to near perfection, and arranged with tribute to tradition, craftsmanship, and Loveless’s own musical legacy is a five-star effort, and a must-have for any fan of real country music.

Grade: A

Dreamin’ My Dreams is still in print, and new and used copies can be picked up inexpensively from Amazon. It’s also available digitally at Amazon and iTunes.

7 responses to “Album Review: Patty Loveless – ‘Dreamin’ My Dreams’

  1. DollyPFan October 29, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Patty actually left Epic before it closed it’s doors. She requested in February of 06 to be let out of her contract, and they allowed it, perhaps seeing what was coming. I cant blame her. This was an incredible cd, and was notgiven the attention it deserved due to poor promotion and that god awful copyright protection on it that was eventually re-called. Not before it ruined a bunch of users computers though. Some saved with the patch, some not. (So note if you buy this cd used BE CAUTIOUS and MAKE SURE you know what version you are buying beforehand!)

    A shame because this is incredible. “Nobody Here by that Name” is absolutely breathtaking.

    Patty cut “When I Reach…” on a Red Hot & Country compilation years back and I was always wanting it on one of her cds. I was DELIGHTED when they put it on DMD, and the version they delivered gave me chills. WOW.

    AMAZING. Grade A well deserved.

    • J.R. Journey October 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm

      I had almost forgotten about the anit-piracy thing that was installed in some CDs back then. That did hurt this and a few other releases at the time. I remember Shelly Fairchild’s album having the same copyright protection on it. It didn’t crash my computer though – just wouldn’t let me burn it and played in a separate media player all its own. At least that’s the version I got … maybe I got a later release.

      • Leeann Ward October 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm

        The same thing happened with Jon Randall’s Walking Among the Living album, which deserved more attention.
        I like this album a lot. It’s worth mentioning that Dwight Yoakam is prominently featured on “Never Ending Song of Love.” The song is also on John Fogerty’s new album, though not as good as Patty’s. “My Old Friend the Blues” is probably my favorite on the album. This album is kind of a mix of genres, which is both cool and jarring. I think that if they had sequenced the tracks more evenly, it wouldn’t be so jarring. It’s just good that I typically listen to my music on shuffle more than albums straight through.

      • DollyPFan October 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm

        Thats the only problem I ever had with mine as well JR, I just couldnt burn it. It crashed the wife’s computer. It didn’t start off that way, it was their “PATCH” to fix the errors it caused that ended up crashing her computer. We had to buy a new PC for her. Their consolotation was our money back for the PL cd and a clean copy of it.

  2. Razor X October 29, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    It is interesting how this album starts out contemporary and then switches gears about halfway through. I really don’t find it jarring, though. Somehow it works. I would be interested in knowing the thought process behind it, though.

    • Steve from Boston October 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm

      Patty has indicated that she tries to reproduce a “Patty Loveless concert experience” with some of her albums..with a mix of acoustic and electric. (I think especially with On Your Way Home and her Dreamin’ My Dreams records) She’s opened some of her concerts in the past with Keep Your Distance, and made a mix of contemporary, electric and acoustic, often ending with a spiritual or inspirational song as her encore, as she ends so many of her albums as well.

      I think it works too, Razor…and Leeann, I love the combo of Never Ending Song of Love leading into Big Chance..No surprise that I love Patty and Dwights version of NESOL the best, even better than the original. ;).

      Nice review J R, I agree about the cohesion of the album, I think it works just fine, again I agree with your grade ( you folks have GREAT taste here, and a highly developed sense of artistic discernment. 😉 )

      This album and the single Keep Your Distance deserved to do so much better. When I first saw the video for KYD, I thought to myself that the song and the video would shoot right up to number one, for sure. But 2005 was the year I grew up, woke up, and reaized that Nashville had sold it’s musical soul. So a soulful, real Mountain-Country song like Keep Your Distance never stood a chance. It was never in the cards that KYD woud be properly appreciated by a souless, Music-Row establishment.

      And wow, what an album closer in When I Reach the Place I’m Going…Inspired and inspiring mountain melismatic vocals by the Queen of Mountain Soul, poetically moving lyrics by husband Emory, and a veritable symphony of Appalachian acoustic textures…It just doesn’t get any better than this.

  3. Leeann Ward October 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    To me, since the songs are such quality, it works. However, as a practice, I’d rather the styles be interspersed with each other. Then again, I could find that jarring as well. I’ve noticed that sequencing is something that I don’t always agree with on Loveless albums though.

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