Personnel: Patty Loveless (tenor); Del McCoury (vocals, acoustic guitar); Rebecca Lynn Howard (tenor, acoustic guitar); Carmella Ramsey, Emmylou Harris (tenor); Vince Gill (baritone, acoustic guitar); Carl Jackson (baritone, banjo); Ronnie McCoury (baritone, mandola, mandolin); Jon Randall (baritone, mandolin); Tim Hensley (baritone); Bryan Sutton (acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin); Tom Britt (electric guitar); Mike Auldridge, Rob Ickes (dobro); Rob McCoury (banjo); Stuart Duncan (mandolin, fiddle); Deanie Richardson, Jason Carter (fiddle); Butch Lee (pump organ); Kerlan Spur (percussion).
Arrangers: Del McCoury; Patty Loveless; Ralph Stanley; Rebecca Lynn Howard; Ronnie McCoury; Vince Gill.
Patty Loveless' MOUNTAIN SOUL II is not a strict sequel to its 2001 predecessor. Whereas the former album was chock-full of bluegrass tunes both historical and contemporary, the sequel is a far more diverse collection that includes traditional songs, country music classics, and some new originals--and yes, there are a couple of bluegrass tunes in the mix. Loveless and her husband, producer Emory Gordy, Jr., recruited a stellar cast of players and backing vocalists, and wrote some stellar tunes to put alongside hallmark favorites on this mostly acoustic date. The guests are a star-studded list of session players and singers including Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Rebecca Lynn Howard, steel boss Al Perkins, and fiddler Stuart Duncan, to mention only a few. The set opens with a mountain version of Harlan Howard's standard "Busted," featuring no less than bluegrass legend Del McCouryon on guitar and lead chorus vocal and son Ronnie McCouryon on mandolin. Rob Ickes plays Dobro and Bryan Sutton plays banjo (these latter three appear on multiple cuts). It's followed by an utterly moving version of Susannah Clark and Rodney Crowell's broken love song "Fools Thin Air," with Mike Auldridge on Dobro and Carl Jackson on banjo. There is a stellar vocal trio on the traditional "Friends in Gloryland," sung a cappella with Gill and Howard. The pair also appears with Loveless on the gorgeous "Blue Memories." MOUNTAIN SOUL II is every bit as fine as the original MOUNTAIN SOUL was, and is more adventurous. Loveless and Gordy make no concessions to contemporary country music and don't seem too concerned about the charts. Loveless has built a following that may not be in the millions anymore, but it is plentiful enough in numbers to support her enthusiastically in whatever endeavor she attempts to undertake. Since 2000, every record she's released has been at least as good as the one that preceded it, and this is no exception.
Billboard (p.84) - "Patty Loveless has an innate soulfulness....Her new album, MOUNTAIN SOUL II, is a must-have for fans of Loveless and roots music alike."