Country’s reigning queen of heartache delivers another sparkling batch of tear-stained songs on her new album, “Long Stretch of Lonesome.”
Patty Loveless, who brings her tender voice to the Spokane Arena tonight, continues her hot streak with her ninth album.
Her two most recent discs, “The Trouble With The Truth” and “When Fallen Angels Fly,” were popular and critical hits. “Truth” garnered a Grammy nomination as top country album for ‘97, and “Angels” won the 1995 CMA Album of the Year honor.
Loveless won the 1996 and 1997 top female vocalist awards from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.
Tonight she’ll share the stage with heartthrob Bryan White and newcomer Matt King. Both also have promising new albums out.
“Long Stretch of Lonesome” scored an A- in last week’s Entertainment Weekly. “Offering more than the country staples, her latest smartly explores near-existential concepts, from blind faith and romantic doubt to destiny and middle-age blahs. Most refreshing is how Loveless’ Appalachian blues sound torchy with hardly a hint of twang,” reviewer Jeremy Helligar wrote.
Thanks to some of the top songwriters in country, including Gretchen Peters, Kim Richey and Jim Lauderdale, Loveless packs an emotional wallop on “Long Stretch of Lonesome.”
“I found myself trying to find songs to express what I was feeling … but more importantly, they’re songs that show something deeper about our emotions,” Loveless says in publicity materials.
On the album’s first single, “You Don’t Seem To Miss Me,” Loveless sings of fighting for a fading lover. She pledges to tempt fate and have fun in the lively, fiddle-filled “The Party Ain’t Over.” She finds a new resolve in the intimate “I Don’t Want To Feel Like That.”
“To me, singing is almost like talking to a friend,” she says. “You can unload any situation or problem in your life and it’s OK. You’re just sharing it with many friends - and they’ll come back and say ‘Yeah, I know …’
“There were times when I’d be walking out of the studio and I’d be crying - especially on songs like “I Don’t Want To Feel Like That,’ ‘Like Water Into Wine,’ ‘You Don’t Seem To Miss Me’ and ‘Too Many Memories’ - because I felt it so deeply. But that’s true and nothing to be ashamed of… .
“I think we all live with regrets … every day. All people do. It’s just something you can’t avoid. So accept it and balance it and remember it without drowning.
“That’s what this whole album is about really.”
Bryan White delivers more country pop on “The Right Place,” his third album. His first two both went platinum, and the 23-year-old has already racked up five No. 1 singles. The new album is his best yet.
White’s expressive tenor gets a workout on the ballad “What Did I Do (To Deserve You)” and the rollicking “The Natural Thing,” two of the album’s best cuts. The first single, “Love Is The Right Place,” is moving up the charts faster than any of his other hits.
“One of the things I want to do is reach a larger audience,” White says. “My goal is to pull people into country music who weren’t there before.”
With the pop sensibilities on “The Right Place,” White should accomplish that.
Matt King’s debut album, “Five O’Clock Hero,” suggests stardom for the 31-year-old. King wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on the disc, and he’s a skilled acoustic guitarist to boot. From the first cut (he sounds just like Randy Travis on the ballad “A Woman’s Tears”) to the last, a bluesy number, King scores with each song. There’s not a dog on the album.
“I feel a responsibility to connect to an audience,” he says. “I want to make music that strikes people on an emotional, gut level.”
Tonight’s concert promises an emotional connection with all three artists.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Color Photos
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: CONCERT Patty Loveless, Bryan White and Matt King perform tonight at 7:30 at the Arena. Tickets: $22.50, available at the door, G&B Select-a-Seat outlets or call (800) 325-SEAT.
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