By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
"I think if somebody was trying to tell me about my future, it would've been kind of hard for me to swallow because of the way that the music was in country, say, for the past ten years," Loveless says. "Well, actually, from '85, or say, '83 up through, say, '95, country music was really just rolling like crazy, and so if they had told me back then, no, it would've been difficult for me to put that all together. Now, as far as breaking away from doing the contemporary country music and going and doing some bluegrass shows, yeah, I would believe that. But doing an entire tour such as this is ... it's pretty overwhelming, pretty unbelievable that we're here today."
The same could be said of the young, prime, ever-so-desirable 18- to 35-year-old demographic that makes up a large portion of the Down From the Mountain audience. "I think a lot of what's going on, I feel that a lot of kids, especially college kids, they always are intrigued and have such interest in music that is very rootsy," Loveless says, "and not just, you know, sort of bluegrass music -- any form of music. They have an interest in it, to know the history of it and how it came to be. It's so good to see that still continue on. Music is history -- it speaks to us about our heritage and where we come from, and I think all of us, whether we're in college or of college age or the age that I am now, myself, that we want to know about the music that brought us here."
This is not to say that Loveless rejects the music she made before Mountain Soul. It was successful for her, and much of it was and is justifiably praised. Loveless knew that a certain level of success wasn't enough. With the commercial accolades had to come a feeling of artistic satisfaction. To crib the lyrics of her Mountain tourmate Emmylou Harris, Loveless went looking for the water from a deeper well:
"This album, this music, I did it because I wanted to. It was true to me.
"I feel that I try to stay true to my own feelings and my past -- even if it's not successful today, somebody can turn around and listen to the music and say, you know, even 50 years from now, and say, 'That was really great stuff,' and I'm hoping that even though I will maybe not be around, that will be something I can leave behind."