Every Wednesday we take a trip down memory lane to highlight a classic country artist. This week we're flashing back to the early 1990's with Patty Loveless.

Patty was born in Kentucky, where her father worked as a coal miner.  He contracted black lung disease and needed advanced medical care, forcing the family to relocate to Louisville.

Her first real performance was at age 12 at the Lincoln Jamboree, which, in reality, was a small auditorium with a bunch of folding chairs.  For the performance, she received the first money she ever earned.

Along with her brother, Roger, she moved to Nashville in 1971 and got in to see Porter Wagoner without an appointment.  She performed a song for him and Porter had made up his mind that he would help her out.  He suggested she finish school but she was able to perform with him and Dolly on weekends during the summer.

She disappeared from the Nashville scene for awhile and then eventually came back to it in the early 1990's.  Her producer, also her husband, noticed her voice wasn't as strong as it had once been.  It turns out she had pain in her throat when she would sing. Her doctor discovered she had an enlarged blood vessel that look almost like a varicose vain on her vocal cords.

The only option was surgery and even that wasn't a guarantee that it would correct the problem.  For nine weeks, she couldn't sing or talk.  Her husband attempted to teach her Morse code so the two could communicate.  They also used Post-Its and a pen to talk to one another.  It was during this time she developed an interest in amateur radio and although it's no longer active, she was given a call sign.

About three months later, she returned to singing but it was quickly discovered that her voice had changed in a positive way -- it was much fuller and deeper.

Test time -- see if you can tell the differences in her voice!

Before or after?

The Country Classic Flashback is brought to you by Midwest Machinery on East Highway 23 in Sauk Rapids with eight other locations in Central Minnesota.