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Pike County Native | Patty Loveless

by Janet Nesler

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Patty Loveless was born in a miner's hospital in Bowling Fork, Pike County, KY. As a child Loveless lived, and attended school, in Elkhorn City, KY. One of the last real coal miner's daughters she never has forgotten her Kentucky roots. Her photo hangs on the wall of Rusty Fork Restaurant, in Elkhorn City as a reminder that the people there are proud of her and her accomplishments.

"We have a wall dedicated to all the Kentucky stars," said Kathy Mullins, manager of the restaurant. "The photo of Patty Loveless was donated by her first cousin, Alan Gibson, who lives in Elkhorn City."

Gibson, who is running for Mayor in 1998, and his wife Leslie are very proud of Loveless. "Ever since she was big enough to sing, that's all she ever wanted to do," said Gibson. "Her mother Naomie Ramey was a sister to my mother and we used to have a gospel singing group and Patty sang with us. Naomie always said she would do everything she could to see that Patty had a singing career. Naomie and Patty's brother, Roger, who was Patty's first manager, were the keys to her success along with the influence made on Patty by the singing of Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. They were her idols and it wasn't until she met Loretta in Nashville, and they sat down to talk about their similar background that she found out they were cousins. They found out they had the same grandmother."

When Loveless finished the eighth grade the family moved to Louisville, KY so her father, Johnny Ramey, could be closer the the doctors and hospitals there. Disabled in the coal mines her father was suffering from Black Lung and needed medical attention. Eventually Loveless moved to Nashville, where the Wilburn Brothers helped with her career by giving her the
opportunity to perform with them. As she sang her way to the top of the Country Music scene she always remembered where she came from and visited regularly in the Pike County area.

"Patty always came back every October on Patty Loveless Day to kick off the White Water Rafting event which takes place in Elkhorn City," said Gibson. "Although we still have the
rafting, we haven't had Patty Loveless Day in the last few years but if I'm elected Mayor I hope to start Patty Loveless Day again and do a lot of things to make Elkhorn City a place to really be proud of."

When signs were erected along Country Music Highway 23, A sign bearing the name Patty Loveless was erected at Elkhorn City. At that time Loveless came back to Elkhorn City, spoke and gave a concert in the high school auditorium with all the proceeds going to the lunches for underprivileged children and for scholarships. She came back to do this for the next two years. One year she brought Vince Gill with her as a surprise guest. Another year she brought The Wilburn Brothers and Ralph Stanley.

Loveless sings with the wisdom of Dolly Parton and the innocence of Loretta Lynn and it all comes out as one of countrys most powerful and unique singers. She makes Kentucky proud.


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