Patty Loveless, Only What I Feel


Just months after career-threatening throat surgery, Patty Loveless returned to the studio with husband-producer, Emory Gordy, Jr., to record her debut for Epic Records. Only What I Feel juggles commercial demands with her own artistic desires to create the first fully-formed collection in her catalog.

The highlight is “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye,” one of the best songs Loveless has ever committed to record. A three-act play, “Goodbye” follows a mother-daughter relationship to the death bed. Memorable without being maudlin, her performance remains restrained despite the song’s grief-striken nature.

The Harlan Howard-Kostas cut, “Blame It On Your Heart,” is a hillbilly tongue twister that finds Loveless letting loose and feeling frisky. But, as Only What I Feel offers, a heart’s content can have its consequences. With “Nothin’ but the Wheel,” Loveless reveals the chill in the air and the gloom in the steel-gray sky, neither one of them as cold and dark as the loneliness leading her down Highway 41. The album title comes from “What’s a Broken Heart,” a tossed-off midtempo where she swears such a thing ain’t no big deal. But just one note from Loveless’ devastating voice makes it sound like the end of the world.


  1. I just came across this review; I don’t know why the album was reviewed in 2009, but it’s great because this one is a top-to-bottom classic.

  2. It has some of her best singles ever, including “Nothin’ But The Wheel” and “You Will” (“How Can I Help…” goes without saying, though I just said it). I also love album tracks like “Mr. Man In The Moon” (a nice waltz) and the gut-punch “What’s A Broken Heart.”

    Her run from UP AGAINST MY HEART through LONG STRETCH OF LONESOME was basically unparalleled quality. And then MOUNTAIN SOUL just took her to a whole other level I didn’t think was possible.

  3. While we’re at it, I’d love some advice from anyone reading. I visit a music board where we play an American Idol-like game with real artists. Patty is in the game this year, and I get to pick the first song to play for her. What is a good representation of her music that would also appeal to a brad category of listeners?

    The last time she played I chose “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” for round 1. Everyone loved it, and she advanced. I played “You Don’t Seem To Miss Me” next, and it got a mixed reception (some saying it sounded like typical female country which blew my mind).

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