Patty Loveless – “Drive”

Juli Thanki | June 1st, 2010

patty-loveless-driveWhen was the last time the excellent Patty Loveless was heard with any regularity on commercial country radio? In 2003, her cover of “Lovin’ All Night” cracked the Top 20, and three years before that, “The Last Thing on My Mind” did the same.

Now, she’s hoping to find her way onto mainstream radio once more with a charity single. “Drive,” written by Loveless and husband/producer Emory Gordy, Jr., is meant to draw attention to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the fourth leading cause of death and the one that claimed the life of her older sister, Dottie. It’s being offered as a free download to those who take the COPD questionnaire here:

The lyrics—whose chorus is collection of cheerful instructions like “Live life, breathe it in/Don’t stop, don’t quit/Stay on track/Look ahead and don’t look back/Now’s the time to live your life/Breathe deep and drive”—aren’t particularly interesting, but Loveless’ delivery is, as she sells the hell out of it with that gorgeous voice.

Though they’re surrounded by vague yet optimistic platitudes, the multiple references to breathing are a nice touch, as COPD is a disease which makes that very act so difficult. The music behind her is peppy pop-country, somewhat reminiscent of her single “That’s the Kind of Mood I’m In.” “Drive” is something you might hear at a neighborhood cookout or from somebody’s open windows on the interstate; there’s not a whole lot of depth, but it’s irrepressibly catchy. If the song’s purpose is mainly to draw attention to COPD and cause a few toes to tap along the way, then mission accomplished.

“Drive” sounds like it could have been on one of Loveless’ mid to late ’90s Epic albums, and though her recent bluegrass and covers albums have been excellent, it sure is nice to hear her brand of mainstream country once more.

Thumbs Up

  1. Bernie
    June 1, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I wouldn’t exactly say that Loveless is “she’s hoping to find her way onto mainstream radio once more with a charity single”…that’s never been mentioned. She has not included it in her live performances (only if DRIVE4COPD is set up), and they are still focusing on promoting Mountain Soul II.

    It’s being labeled as a single, but I don’t see Loveless using it to find a way onto mainstream radio once again.

    June 1, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Bernie is correct. And Loveless is her usual sterling self. Loveless is like Federal Express. No matter what is in the box, the delivery is usually right on.

  3. Ben Foster
    June 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I can’t find any fault with Patty’s vocal performance – I never can. She is an amazing singer, and I am a huge fan of hers (saw her live in concert at the Ryman last fall). “Drive” may not be on the same plane as some of Patty’s previous hits, but it has an infectious melody, and Patty sells it with her energetic vocal performance. It is definitely entertaining.

  4. Julia C H
    June 1, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    A much welcomed change for me.

  5. Rick
    June 1, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I’ll have to download the song when I get home as I’m never one to pass up a worthwhile freebie!

    Hopefully Emory bumped up the treble in the final mix a few notches as compared to MS II as the lack of high frequency energy makes the recordings sound dull (Asleep At The Wheel did the same thing with “Willie & The Wheel”). Emory must have some mixdown monitors with a hot high end response (ie exaggerated treble frequencies)! If he’s using Yamaha NS-10M’s, he needs to tape Kleenex tissue paper in front of the dome tweeters! Crikey!

    PS – Network TV commercials for the COPD drug “Advair” are quite common and do a good job of explaining what COPD is in simple terms.

  6. J.R. Journey
    June 1, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I totally agree with the last sentence. Nobody made neo-traditional country music like Patty Loveless. A welcome return to form for one of the sound’s greatest voices. And now that she’s solidified her mountain-music cred, I’d really like to hear another mainstream album from Patty.

  7. Drew
    June 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I’m a big Patty Loveless fan, but I just don’t really like this one. Trying too hard to be “catchy”, but not much substance.

  8. CountryFan
    June 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    This isn’t Patty at her best. While Patty is a great singer… her songwriting leaves a lot to be desired.

  9. Matt Bjorke
    June 2, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I have to agree with Drew and Countryfan on this one, Patty sings great but the song leaves a lot to be desired…

  10. Leeann Ward
    June 3, 2010 at 6:44 am

    ditto to the last three comments.

  11. Erik
    June 3, 2010 at 7:02 am

    She should’ve saved this for a proper studio album. If there’s a song that has even a marginal chance of getting her back on radio’s playlists, it’s this one.

  12. Steve from Boston
    June 3, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Judging by Drive alone, it may not seem like Patty is a great songwriter, (although I do like the song, but not my favorite from her)..But whether solo or in conjunction with her talented husband Emory Gordy Jr., Patty Loveless IS an excellent songwriter. At the age of 14 she composed a Mountain masterpiece called “Sounds of Loneliness” that got the attention of Porter Wagoner and moved him to become her mentor.

    She may not be a prolific songwriter today, but she certainly is a gifted one, and has composed some really great songs that can easily stand with the best that anyone has to offer. In addition to Sounds of Loneliness, songs like Rise Up Lazarus, Big Chance, Bluegrass White Snow, to name just a few.

    I do like Juli’s reveiw and certainly agree with the thumbs up verdict, but I disagree with her assesment that the song is an attempt to court maintream Country radio once again. My guess is that Patty and Emory chose the Pop Country style for Drive because it has broad appeal, and makes it a more effective vehicle for the cause of COPD screening. Could be wrong, but I dont think this song is indicative of an upcoming new direction for Patty’s music.

  13. Good Day:
    Patty Loveless, is one of the most soulful
    voices in bluegrass. She’s a great musician, writer, and has amazing talent. We love her material.
    We wish her the best of luck, and success always.
    Thank you,
    Bluegrass & Cadillacs Records
    Nashville, Tennessee 37217

  14. Thomas
    June 6, 2010 at 5:14 am

    …this is not really a song, but a very worthwhile project highlighted by the means of music. actually, it could be one of the catchiest worthwhile projects ever, now that i’ve listened to it a few times.

  15. Ben Foster
    June 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    The 9513’s single reviews are easily my favorite feature of the site. They are often very insightful and humorous at the same time. I’m a little bummed that they have lately been published with ever-decreasing frequency. I’m always eager to read what y’all think of the new songs on country radio, so please keep the reviews coming if you can!

    By the way, here’s my review of “Drive.”

  16. Jon G.
    June 17, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Ditto, Ben. Everything you just said. I also enjoy generally their single reviews more than the other articles.

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