Loveless Hopes Song Can Help Others Appreciate, Renew Love

SUNDAY, APRIL 16, 1995

Coming behind such previous No. 1 hits as “Blame It on Your Heart,” “Here I Am” and “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye,” the unflinching lyrics of Patty Loveless’ soulfully sung and fast-rising current single, “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am,” seem to be making a powerful impression.

Loveless (who performs in Pullman Thursday with Vince Gill as the headliner) describes the song, an objective look at a woman and man whose long-term relationship is falling apart, as having to do with “the reality of people. So many people can relate to that, and I was put in that position (myself),” says the once-divorced Loveless.

“It got to the point where I didn’t know him anymore, and he didn’t know me. Even though I didn’t have kids, I know that (kind of) hurt because I’ve had friends go through it where they’re trying to split up and there are kids involved. Even with my family, I had a sister that went through it all, so I can feel all that.”

One of the striking things about the song is that it is two-sided: The viewpoint of each of the partners in the dissolving union is dealt with sympathetically.

Loveless says that filming the video of the song was “rough for me, and I know it was rough for the guy who played the part of the husband. I think it’s going to appeal to so many people. It may bring couples together, may put them into counseling or something before they get to that point of decision, make them talk it out rather than splitting up. At the same time, I think it’s going to give those people who have made that decision to go separate ways to not feel so badly about themselves. There does come a time in many people’s lives that we don’t know each other anymore, and it’s sad, but you have to move on.”

RCA ‘Essential’ series out

RCA Records, claiming to be already conscious of the looming 100th anniversary it will celebrate in the year 2001, now launches its “Essential Series” by releasing 20-cut collections of reissued material by Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, Ronnie Milsap and Skeeter Davis. The company promises that these are just the first four albums expected to come from the long list of important country performers on RCA’s all-time roster.

The substance of the first four collections varies. Whereas “The Essential Skeeter Davis” covers the highlights of a career that covered nearly two decades on RCA, “The Essential Vince Gill” covers a formative period for the present superstar, who found most of his fame on MCA Records.

In marked contrast, “The Essential Dolly Parton” and “The Essential Ronnie Milsap” each showcase songs from the most popular periods of two of RCA’s better-known performers of the 1970s and 1980s. A later, second volume of the work of each will gather together their earlier RCA output. The reason for releasing the more popular material first, it is assumed, is that some of the performers’ early work is already available in other collections.

Later this year, “Essential” collections of four other RCA country artists are planned: those of Willie Nelson, Jerry Reed, Jim Reeves and Floyd Cramer.

RCA rightly notes that it played a great role in the development of country music, citing such other longterm RCA artists as Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, Chet Atkins, Porter Wagoner, Waylon Jennings, The Judds, Kenny Rogers, Alabama and Keith Whitley.

One it did not mention, and who would seem to deserve an “Essential” collection, is Don Gibson, who now is best-known as the writer of such songs as “I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” and “Sweet Dreams,” but in the late 1950s and early 1960s was one of the tastiest singers and most popular acts on the label.

Although Gibson also recorded for other companies before and after RCA, his far-and-away best work was there. Nashville Sound architect Chet Atkins gives Gibson’s artistry much credit for launching Atkins’ own great career as an innovative record executive. What say, RCA?

Canadian group touring

The Rankin Family, a star Canadian group whose three north-of-theborder albums have sold a combined total of more than a million copies (a feat in a nation whose total population is only approximately 25 million), now is touring the world and seeing its latest Canadian album, “North Country,” released in the United States by Guardian Records.

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