Patty Loveless/Dolly Parton
Riding across Georgia on a Sunday afternoon with the radio on scan. In that part of the land where soul-sucking modern country and talk radio now combine to suffocate about ninety percent of the bandwidth I happen across “Blame It On Your Heart.” Which means that whatever follows it will be knocked down, because country is–or was–about voices and, for the last twenty-five years, getting knocked down is what happens to pretty much anything that follows Patty Loveless, even when she’s singing her middle-of-the-pack radio-fodder.
Surprise, though, because this turns out to be one of those “classic” country stations so “Jolene”–which can’t be knocked down by anything–comes on next. Beautiful. The desire to experience another similar epiphany kept me glued to the station for another hour’s worth of I-75.
I stayed with it until the station turned to static and the heavyweights stepped in the ring one after another, gloves at the ready–Merle Haggard, George Strait, Randy Travis, Tom T. Hall, Travis Tritt, Moe Bandy.
With that lineup, you would figure the law of averages would kick in and let somebody measure up–if not to Dolly in genius mode, then at least to Patty on cruise control.
Nobody even got close.