With the likes of Patty Loveless in the mix, it's difficult to imagine why the face of country music is still Shania and Faith. Loveless reached back to the roots of country on her acoustic "Mountain Soul" album of 2001 and although she's moved back toward the mainstream here, she remains true to those roots by retaining the mandolins, banjos, fiddles, and pedal steel guitars. This 11-song collection penned by Nashville luminaries including Rodney Crowell and Buddy and Judy Miller, features standard country fare of honky tonks and cheatin' husbands. Loveless isn't as slick as Shania or Faith, but she can reach down further than either of them, throw those honky tonks in your face and then turn and pull on the heart strings (hear how she sings "The Grandpa That I Know" from the perspective of a young girl attending her grandfather's funeral). It's pure country with no frills, and that's OK, because frills are something Loveless certainly doesn't need.
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