During the past decade or so, few country artists have been as consistently excellent as Patty Loveless.

During the past decade or so, few country artists have been as consistently excellent as Patty Loveless. After paying homage to her bluegrass roots, Loveless now opts for a more stone-country approach, to frequently stunning effect. Cheatin' songs abound on this primarily acoustic-based set. Wailing fiddle and a twang-o-rama vocal power propel "Dragging My Heart Around," while the haunting "Nothing Like the Lonely" spotlights the artist at her soulful best. Loveless is absolutely brilliant on the Ronnie Samoset/Matraca Berg-penned title cut and emotes a peerless wounded quality on "I Don't Wanna Be That Strong." Likewise, "Higher Than the Wall" is an event song in Loveless' hands, and the Rodney Crowell gem "Lovin' All Night" is loaded with personality. With unmatched tone and timbre, as well as passion for days, Loveless is at the top of her game.—RW

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