ruby lovett is pure country. she is heir to a tradition of women with drawls and spunk, women who, truth be told, built and nurtured country music from its beginnings through early reba. she is funny, unaffected, and unabashedly traditional in outlook, and the combination makes both her singing and her presence extraordinarily appealing. the fact that such appeal is tied to a beautifully one-of-a-kind voice is allthe better.
her timing is impeccable as well. in recent years, men and women with pure country in them have found their stock rising. in that span, patty loveless has brought out her most country projects in years. dolly returned foursquare to her roots and brought out her purest, most affecting work in decades. even reba, her hollywood move notwithstanding, is again sounding as country as an unpainted oklahoma fence.
few women are more able to carry that mantle forward than ruby lovett. her music is as real as she is, full of honest emotion and real-life situations, sung with unaffected grace and power. to hear her sing is to witness the flowering of a life and musical approach that began with a childhood in laurel, mississippi.
"i was raised poor," she says, "but we always managed to have enough to get by on. we were just honest and plainspoken people. if i've got something on my mind or my heart i usually say it, either in words or in song."
her teenaged mother gave her up and, at seven days old ruby was adopted by an older couple. her roots are in southern gospel, which she began singing in church as a young girl. an early supporter who frequented the oft-held, church-hosted, all-day "gospel singin's" with dinner on the grounds, would give her a dollar after each performance. one day when she broke open the piggy bank in which she saved the money, she found she had amassed $56. she went out and bought a real pig.
at 13, she formed a country band and performed on a stage her parents had built in a building where they used to operate a general store. they had quickly come to share her dream of making a life out of music.
as a teenager, she played nearly every weekend at fiddlers', bluegrass and gospel conventions, and it was there that she found her heroes and heroines-men and women playing from the heart for the love of the music. meanwhile, she followed popular country music and found herself drawn to the rough-edged males whose honesty made their music compelling--merle haggard, george jones, and waylon jennings--as well as self-contained, pure country queens loretta lynn and dolly parton.
after a performance at the jimmie rodgers memorial festival in meridian, mississippi, she gave a tape to a nashville song plugger impressed by her performance. with his encouragement, she began commuting to nashville to write, record, and play gigs that sometimes saw her sharing the bill with the likes of bluegrass legend bill monroe. her demos attracted major label interest, and she released a critically well-received album produced by garth brooks producer allen reynolds and anchored by "look what love can do," a self-penned song based on her experience as an adopted child.
she can count any number of reviewers and journalists among her admirers as well, but her first two fans, her late parents, continue to offer her prime inspiration. "i wish they were still here," she says. "they worked so hard to help me pursue my dream. they wanted it as much as i did. that drives me to continue playing, and writing and singing my music. i do it because i feel a deep love for music, but i do it to honor them as well.
the music she is making now is as honest and unaffected as she is. the drawl, the attitude, and the outlook all tie her directly and refreshingly to her roots and to her soul.
"the music i make is real country music," she says. "it's pure and unpolished. it's the country music that i love, and i believe there's an appetite out there for it.
1. Don't Settle For Less
2. Pulpwood Haulin' Truck
3. Hard Lesson Road
4. If You Were Mine
5. That's What I Believe
6. Farthur Along