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Rooted in Country: Brit Taylor on the 'Real Raw Honesty' of Patty Loveless' 'You Don't Even Know Who I Am'

Sarah Cahill

Country singer-songwriter Brit Taylor has always been drawn to country lyrics -- especially the sad ones. As a young girl performing on the Kentucky Opry Stage, she was more likely to choose one of those devastating, rip-your-heart-out songs that showed a wiseness beyond her years.

"I've always felt lyrics. Even before I knew what the words really meant, I could feel them," Taylor tells Wide Open Country. "When I was a performer on the Kentucky Opry Jr. Pros, I would constantly pick songs to sing that weren't age appropriate. I was 7 years old wanting to sing divorce songs!"

Taylor credits a fellow Eastern Kentuckian for her longheld love of three-chords-and-the-truth storytelling: Patty Loveless.

"To be truthful, there actually wasn't a lot of country music listening in my house while I was growing up! My dad loved the oldies and my mom loved '80s rock. It was my Papaw who introduced me to bluegrass, and that led me to country. One of my favorite artists when I was growing up was Patty Loveless," Taylor says. "She toed the line between bluegrass and country perfectly. The first time I remember being floored by songs were after listening to Patty Loveless sing 'You Don't Even Know Who I Am' and 'How Can I Help You Say Goodbye.'  I'm not sure why those songs hit me so hard. I was only 5 years old when the songs were released in 1994 and probably 6 or 7 when I first heard them.  I am not a child of divorce. My parents are happily married going on 34 years!  And I had never experienced the death of a loved one, but for some reason these songs ripped my heart out, and I could feel everything as if it were me in the song. I was always a fan of sad songs."

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Taylor says "You Don't Even Know Who I Am," written by Gretchen Peters and recorded by Loveless on the 1994 album When the Fallen Angels Fly, has only become more special to her with time.

"I love honest emotion. I love 'You Don't Even Know Who I Am' because it's so real and so emotional. There's no complicated turns of phrase, no witty lines, it's just blunt words and real raw honesty," Taylor continues. "I love the imagery of the key in the door, the clothes on the floor, the note in the kitchen, the ring on the pillow. The words paint a real picture. You can watch this movie of words in your head as you listen and feel the hurt for these two characters deep in the pit of your stomach. Patty Loveless didn't write this song, but, man, did she sing it with conviction.  It was really brave of her to sing such a heart-wrenching song. The song was written by Gretchen Peters. Today, having gone through my own divorce, I can understand and appreciate even more how real, raw and true this song is."

Taylor released Real Me, produced by Dave Brainard and featuring co-writes with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, in 2020.

For more information on Brit Taylor, visit her official website.

 

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Rooted in Country: Brit Taylor on the 'Real Raw Honesty' of Patty Loveless' 'You Don't Even Know Who I Am'