One of the most popular female singers of the new traditionalist movement, Patty Loveless rose to stardom thanks to her blend of honky tonk and country-rock, not to mention a plaintive, emotional ballad style. Her late-'80s records for MCA were generally quite popular, earning her comparisons to Patsy Cline, but most critics agreed that she truly came into her own as an artist when she moved to Epic in the early '90s. Loveless was born Patricia Lee Ramey in Pikeville, KY, in 1957, and spent most of her childhood in nearby Elkhorn City, where her father worked in the coal mines. Her immediate family loved music, and two of her distant cousins later found fame as Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle.
Unfortunately, her father contracted black lung disease, forcing the family to move from their rural home to Louisville for the sake of convenient medical treatment. Patty found escape from the culture shock in music, and her father gave her a guitar when she was 11. Soon she was singing and writing songs with her older brother Roger, and the two started performing at local country jamborees. At one such show, the Wilburn Brothers caught their act and gave them a standing invitation to Nashville. Roger and a 14-year-old Patty made the trip on a weekend when the Wilburns were out of town, but managed to talk their way into Porter Wagoner's office instead, impressing him with a performance of Patty's original "Sounds of Loneliness."