We gave it a B+
Nashville’S Patty Loveless, who last October became only the second woman to win the Country Music Association’s prestigious Album of the Year award, has always integrated the two sides of her musical personality — traditional and progressive — but never as subtly as on The Trouble with the Truth. Drawing on a diverse and first-rate clutch of writers (Richard Thompson, Tony Arata), Loveless balances her victim persona with that of a flippantly defiant survivor, especially on Matraca Berg and Tim Krekel’s ”You Can Feel Bad,” where she lets her ex know she’s doing just fine without him. In doing so, she abandons the radio-desperate pop (”I Try to Think About Elvis”) that dotted her recent albums (When Fallen Angels Fly and Only What I Feel) and returns to the edgy, attitudinal country rock she visited on 1990’s ”I’m That Kind of Girl” (also written by Berg), even as she holds fast to her country-bluegrass roots. The singer uses her backwoods soprano — as rural and unassuming as a mountain brook — to best effect on ”A Thousand Times a Day,” which compares a love affair to an addiction, and ”Someday I Will Lead the Parade,” a funeral song that evokes the old-timey sounds of the Carter Family, right down to the Autoharp. Loveless is more emotionally convincing with honky-tonk than with new-country stylings, but no other woman in contemporary country can pull off this mix half as well.