19 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nothing captures the sense of exquisite romantic sorrow like a great country ballad. On 2008’s Sleepless Nights, Patty Loveless draws upon three decades’ worth of honky tonk torment to create one of the best-realized albums of her career. The singer’s roots in traditional country have long been evident, underpinning even the most commercial of her ‘90s hits. And still, the excellence of these tracks goes beyond expectations. Loveless embodies the suffering within classics like “Sleepless Nights,” “There Goes My Everything,” and “Color of the Blues” to a shiver-inducing degree. She especially connects with a brace of tunes made famous by George Jones — on “Why Baby Why” and “He Thinks I Still Care,” she interprets the lyric with the same sort of self-torturing gusto that Jones achieved in his own versions. A note of suppressed desire adds extra emotional tug to “Don’t Let Me Cross Over” and “Please Help Me, I’m Falling.” Emory Gordy’s production keeps things sparse along classic lines, featuring Al Perkins’ keening pedal steel work and Hargus “Pig” Robbins’ melancholy piano. “Timeless” is a much-abused word, but if any recent country album deserves it, Sleepless Nights does.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nothing captures the sense of exquisite romantic sorrow like a great country ballad. On 2008’s Sleepless Nights, Patty Loveless draws upon three decades’ worth of honky tonk torment to create one of the best-realized albums of her career. The singer’s roots in traditional country have long been evident, underpinning even the most commercial of her ‘90s hits. And still, the excellence of these tracks goes beyond expectations. Loveless embodies the suffering within classics like “Sleepless Nights,” “There Goes My Everything,” and “Color of the Blues” to a shiver-inducing degree. She especially connects with a brace of tunes made famous by George Jones — on “Why Baby Why” and “He Thinks I Still Care,” she interprets the lyric with the same sort of self-torturing gusto that Jones achieved in his own versions. A note of suppressed desire adds extra emotional tug to “Don’t Let Me Cross Over” and “Please Help Me, I’m Falling.” Emory Gordy’s production keeps things sparse along classic lines, featuring Al Perkins’ keening pedal steel work and Hargus “Pig” Robbins’ melancholy piano. “Timeless” is a much-abused word, but if any recent country album deserves it, Sleepless Nights does.

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