Pikeville, Kentucky, native Patty Loveless has occasionally acknowledged her mountain-music roots on her frequently excellent albums of mainstream country. Hear, for instance, the pained, stoic version of Carter Stanley's ... more »"I'll Never Grow Tired of You" on Loveless's 1988 breakthrough, Honky Tonk Angel. Like too few of her 21st-century post-hillbilly peers could do, the singer makes Mountain Soul--an all-acoustic sampling of classics and a handful of new songs--far more than a nod to the style. Loveless's clear voice and sensitivity to narrative lyrics have made ballads her most fertile ground, and here she turns in as consistently affecting a disc as she's ever made. Whether offering a remake of Reno & Smiley's "I Know You're Married (But I Love You Still)," hard-country-influenced duets with Travis Tritt and Jon Randall ("Out of Control Raging Fire" and "Someone I Used to Know," respectively), or a rewritten "Soul of Constant Sorrow," she channels emotion in a straightforward way that could serve as a master class for many current vocalists. Even while celebrating a sound rooted in another time, though, Loveless takes an artistic chance or two: Darrell Scott's long, downbeat story song "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" isn't the record's best cut, but it's one of its most intriguing. --Rickey Wright« less
Pikeville, Kentucky, native Patty Loveless has occasionally acknowledged her mountain-music roots on her frequently excellent albums of mainstream country. Hear, for instance, the pained, stoic version of Carter Stanley's "I'll Never Grow Tired of You" on Loveless's 1988 breakthrough, Honky Tonk Angel. Like too few of her 21st-century post-hillbilly peers could do, the singer makes Mountain Soul--an all-acoustic sampling of classics and a handful of new songs--far more than a nod to the style. Loveless's clear voice and sensitivity to narrative lyrics have made ballads her most fertile ground, and here she turns in as consistently affecting a disc as she's ever made. Whether offering a remake of Reno & Smiley's "I Know You're Married (But I Love You Still)," hard-country-influenced duets with Travis Tritt and Jon Randall ("Out of Control Raging Fire" and "Someone I Used to Know," respectively), or a rewritten "Soul of Constant Sorrow," she channels emotion in a straightforward way that could serve as a master class for many current vocalists. Even while celebrating a sound rooted in another time, though, Loveless takes an artistic chance or two: Darrell Scott's long, downbeat story song "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" isn't the record's best cut, but it's one of its most intriguing. --Rickey Wright
Larry D. from WOOSTER, OH Reviewed on 10/10/2009...
Patty Loveless uses her voice seamlessly in delivery real Bluegrass. I love Bluegrass and I love Patty's renditions on this album.
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A Real Country CD
Brian Mumpower | 07/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Patty Loveless has chosen to ignore what is radio friendly and return to the music she does best. The result is the spectacular "Mountain Music." It is one of the truest country music releases of the year and a very personal one, dedicated to both her mother and father. Recent releases from Dolly Parton "Little Sparrow", and Loretta Lynn "Still Country", attest to the fact that there is an audience that is hungry for Appalachian mountain music. It would be a real feat if any of these tunes were to become top ten hits in today's country atmosphere. That is not to say that they do not deserve the status. Loveless has crafted a nearly perfect collection of songs that give the listener a sense of what it must have been like to enjoy mountain music in a simpler time. Beginning with the rousing number "The Boys are Back in Town" and the two stand out gospel songs "Daniel Prayed" and "Rise Up Lazarus", this set is simply a joy to experience. Patty's voice has never sounded better, and her haunting rendition of "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" (also recorded this year by Brad Paisley), is one you will not forget. Notable duets with Travis Tritt, "I Know You're Married (But I Love You Still)," and "Out of Control Raging Fire" are the year's best collaborative efforts. If you are a fan of one of the best voices in real country music, you better not miss this outstanding effort."
True Country Soul...
Patrice Webb | Georgetown, California USA | 07/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Modern day Country Divas with their emphasis on style over substance could stand to learn a thing or two from Patty Loveless who's simple demeanor and honest strait forward singing have made her one of the last true Country Singers. On past CD's Loveless's true rootsy soul has often been hidden under a slick veneer of Nashville Country Programming. On this CD, her traditional Country leanings have been given free rein and unlike many of her contemporaries, who's cookie cutter voices sound like cotton candy, Loveless sings with a broken heart that pumps real blood.Although billed as an album of "Mountain Music", Mountain Soul also emerges as a truly genuine country album mining both the gospel and bluegrass influences that made so much of the early Country Music so soulful. Many of the songs on this CD have the feel and sound of old standards. "Rise Up Lazarus", a song co-written by Loveless and Emory Gordy Jr. is just such an example as is Loveless's rendition of Ralph Stanley's "Daniel Prayed" - both of these songs have the feeling of an afternoon in a Sunday morning gospel tent revival meeting.On other songs such as Leslie Satcher and Tommy Conner's gracefully sad "Sorrowful Angels" and Darrell Scott's "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" Loveless pushes the traditional Country envelope wider bringing in elements of folk music into an otherwise traditional country mix. "The Richest Fool Alive" is a song that could have been written back in the days when Country Music had names like Hank Williams or Buck Owens and cowboy hats still had sweat on the hatband. "Out of Control Raging Fire" with its line, "Pain has no memory when you burn with desire" represents the kind of songwriting you just don't find on today's saccharine infused Country/Pop charts - and on this track Loveless's barn burning duet with Travis Tritt shows what real Country Music could be like if Nashville wasn't so afraid of getting its hands dirty.The effort that went into this disk is clearly a work of the heart - the CD's packaging contains numerous family pictures with notes lovingly written by Loveless. If true Country music brings us closer to who we are Loveless's CD will surely stand out as one of the more genuine Country Music releases of the year and for lovers of Country Music a welcome respite from all of the glitter and hype Nashville passes off as Country Music in this day and age."
A stunning achievement !
Christopher | Alabama United States | 09/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ms. Loveless doesn't offer us this CD as an hommage to old school country or traditional bluegrass and gospel, rather, she presents us with this wonderful album as if it's the only music known to mankind, and she sings it from the bottom of her soul ! A superb mix of the above mentioned genres, without a misstep on the entire CD. It has been a long, long while since I have enjoyed every single song on a country album, but this one cured that problem. The more I listen to it, the better it gets. Like I stated, every song is great, but, beginning with song ten and ending with song 14, Patty offers us a suite of music that is truly some of the most beautiful and haunting songs ever captured. Her remake of her own song, Sounds of Loneliness, will give you goosebumps, as will, You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive. Where is all the promotion for this stunning collection of songs ? I happened to see a review in Spin Magazine (of all places !) and they gave it 9 out of 10, which is an impressive feat. If this glorious album doesn't win best country album of the year, then I will lose what little faith I have left in this dreadful countrypolitan scene. This is THE album Patty has hinted at on her previous ten albums and it's truly the jewel in her crown. My hat is off and I take a deep bow to Ms. Loveless for a job extremely well done. If this album isn't in your country collection, then it should be !"
Brilliant evocation of country superstar's mountain roots
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 07/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Loveless has shown her mountain roots before, usually on cuts that make her albums deeper than a collection of singles. But never before has she so completely surrendered herself to the music of her Kentucky childhood. Much like Dolly Parton's "Hungry Again," Loveless has stripped away her country music stardom (something that wasn't particularly artificial in the first place) and left herself to fully explore the bluegrass-inflected acoustic music of the hills. The result is as stupendous as Parton's was, giving full voice to the mountain soul behind all her previous music.As always, husband and producer Emory Gordy Jr. is a vital element, helping Loveless pick (and write) songs from bluegrass, mountain, country and inspirational veins. His light hand lets the musicians contribute, but keeps the focus on Loveless' extraordinary outpouring of emotional vocals. Covers of classics by Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner ("Someone I Used to Know") and the Stanley Brothers ("Daniel Prayed") stand unified with tunes penned by Gordy, Loveless, and Darrell Scott's incredible "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive."Guest appearances from Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, Travis Tritt and Jon Randall augment the brilliant playing of the band. Similar to Parton's "Hungry Again," the players really gel under her leadership. There's a sense of music, of *band*, that's missing from the antisceptic multitrack recordings so common to major-label productions. Whether or not radio can find room for this LP, Loveless' fans, and countless bluegrass and mountain fans, will make a home for it. And *that* is what really counts."
J. M. Zuurbier | Canada | 07/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Patty's best albums, along with 1997's Long Stretch of Lonesome. Hopefully with this album, we will find more albums like this from Patty, because this is easily one of the best country albums to come out this year. And hopefully, other country divas like Shania Twain and other pop crossovers will take notice and take notes from this album and learn a thing or two. Mountain Soul borrows elements of bluegrass, mountain music, traditional country, soul and gospel, all mixed into one. Patty's voice has improved with age like a fine wine, and there isn't a filler track to be found anywhere on here. The standout on the album for me is the beautifully sung and written "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive", easily one of the best tracks here. "Sounds of Loneliness" is a nice song with a touch of celtic in it, she sounds wonderful. The album is very similar (not a bad thing) to Dolly Parton's latest album Little Sparrow, as they both are in the same vein musically. Coincidently, she does an excellent job covering Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner's hit Someone I Used To Know, a duet she does with Jon Randall. There are also two duets with Travis Tritt, and they compliment each other well vocally. Overall this is a must have album, easily one of the best albums released this year. Give it a try, if youre tired of the cookie cutter sound f country music these days, you'll be pleasantly surprised and entertained. Its a shame radio ignores her, this is pure quality."