AKA Patrica Lee Ramey
Birthplace: Pikeville, KY
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Country Musician
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: "New traditionalist" country singer
A coal miner's daughter born in Pikeville and raised primarily in Elkhorn City, Patricia Lee Ramey was given a strong appreciation of country and gospel from her music-loving family. The sounds of the Grand Ole Opry on the radio inspired Patty to begin developing her voice at an early age, and her father encourged these inclinations by presenting her with a guitar when she was eleven years old. Her father's exposure to coal dust in the mines ultimately resulted in black lung disease, necessitating the family's move to urban Louisville for more convenient medical access; this jarring removal from the countryside of her childhood proved difficult for Patty, and motivated her to immerse herself even more deeply into songwriting. In her teens she began peforming in a duo with her brother Roger at local county events -- one such performance attracting the attention of The Wilburn Brothers, who were impressed enough to invite the siblings to Nashville. A weekend visit was soon arranged, and -- although mistimed as far as the Wilburns were concerned -- provided Patty with an introduction to her future mentor Porter Wagoner. Before long the young singer was performing on weekends alongside Wagoner and Dolly Parton and, after completing high school at age 16, found herself working at the Grand Ole Opry as featured vocalist with the Wilburns.
In 1976 Patty Ramey became Patty Lovelace through her marriage to the Wilburn Brothers' drummer Terry Lovelace; the couple then relocated to Terry's home state of North Carolina, where Patty's career took a less-than-promising detour into rock/pop cover band territory. After several years of frustration and personal decline, she finally moved back to Kentucky in an attempt to get back on track with her music, enlisting her brother as manager and putting together a demo tape of country songs. In a wry modification of her married name, she made her return to Nashville as "Patty Loveless" -- about as country-sounding as you can get. A publishing contract with Acuff-Rose was soon secured on the strength of her demo material, followed several months later by a record deal with MCA Nashville. Produced by Emory Gordy Jr., Loveless' first single Lonely Days, Lonely Nights made a reasonable showing on the charts late in 1986, and her eponymous debut received a similar reception at the start of 1987, inspiring comparisons to Patsy Cline and placing her within the ranks of the "new traditionalist" country movement. It was in 1988, however, that Loveless' career really caught fire, her second album If My Heart Had Windows launching the title track and A Little Bit In Love into the top ten, and its rapid follow-up Honky Tonk Angel spilling five more top-ten entires into the next year: Timber, I'm Falling In Love (which reached #1), Blue Side Of Town, Don't Toss Us Away, The Lonely Side Of Love and finally Chains (her second #1).
By the end of 1989 Loveless had married Gordy, the performer/producer partnership between them resulting in a series of critically acclaimed and increasingly successful releases. 1990's On Down The Line maintained her presence in the charts with I'm That Kind Of Girl, The Night's Too Long and the title track, but the release also marked the end of the singer's relationship with MCA -- a result of the label's continuing lack of support. A brief hiatus was neccesary in 1992 so that Loveless could recover from surgery on her damaged vocal cords, after which she returned to action with the Epic-released album Only What I Feel (1993), her most successful offering yet. Two more releases (When Fallen Angels Fly (1994), Trouble With The Truth (1996)) continued on in this vein, until, inevitably, a shift towards more pop-oriented country music arrived in 1997, leaving her next two albums, Long Stretch Of Lonesome (1997) and Strong Heart (2000), stranded by the roadside. Rather than climbing on the flashy bandwagon, Loveless went the other direction, delving into her bluegrass roots with 2001's Mountain Soul and 2002's Bluegrass and White Snow: A Mountain Christmas. Both releases were met with the enthusiastic critical notices that have been a constant throughout her career. The strength of this critical acclaim (although aided by yet another turn in popular tastes) helped to endow some of her past commercial impact on her subsequent effort On Your Way Home (2003).
Brother: Roger Ramey
Husband: Terry Lovelace (m. 1976, div. 1985)
Husband: Emory Gordy Jr. (m. 1989)
The Wilburn Brothers Vocalist
Grammy Best Country Collaboration With Vocals (for Same Old Train with Earl Scruggs, et. al.)(1998)
Risk Factors: Alcoholism
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