Country Singer Patty Loveless

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on June 30, 2002

Tell me about Patty Loveless. I’ve heard she’s related to Loretta Lynn. Is this true?

—Edith W., Alabama

Patty Loveless is indeed a distant cousin to Loretta Lynn, but more than any family connection, Loveless felt a musical bond with Lynn. As a little girl in Pikeville, Ky., Loveless listened to the Grand Ole Opry radio show with her family and watched Lynn on the Wilburn Brothers’ television show—embracing the music. It was clear early on that Loveless could sing, but she was very shy. When company came to the family’s house and her mother asked Loveless to sing, she’d run to the kitchen and sing out into the next room rather than face her audience. Later, when her family moved to Louisville, Ky., she felt even more alone. Her father bought her a guitar when she was 11, and after school, she’d run to her room to play and sing songs by Dolly Parton and Lynn. After performing with her brother at a local jamboree, Doyle Wilburn (one of the singing brothers from the television show Loveless loved to watch) encouraged the teenage siblings to come to Nashville, Tenn. There, she met Porter Wagoner and signed with the Wilburns’ publishing company as a songwriter. But she soon went back home. She came back and signed a record contract, but her career really took off when her second husband, Emory Gordy Jr., stepped into the studio to act as her producer.