Sleepless Nights

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Covering someone else’s song is a little like moving into someone else’s house. Sometimes you change all the furniture, repaint everything and build on an addition—and sometimes you leave everything pretty much as it is and just live there. Patty Loveless chooses the latter on Sleepless Nights, which finds her drawing on the music she heard as a child growing up in Kentucky (the oldest song here is from 1951, the newest from 1971). Maybe it’s her emotional attachment to these songs—she has said she associates them with her late sister—that keeps her from doing much renovation. Hewing closely to previous renditions is usually the kiss of death for a covers album, but who are we kidding? This is one of country’s great voices singing a set of uniformly wonderful songs in warm and tasteful settings, so Sleepless Nights can’t help but teem with old-fashioned pleasures. It’s not a new house, but it sure is a comfortable one.

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