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.

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4 Comments on Patty Loveless, Only What I Feel

  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. Yes, this is a very good album. “Nothin’ But the Wheel” is one of my favorite songs that Loveless has recorded.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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