Patty Lee Ramey was born in Pikeville, KY on January 4, 1957 to Coal Miner John Ramey and his wife Naomie. She was the 6th of 7 children born to the Rameys, and they had also taken in a cousin, "Dicie" as one of their own.
Patty was a special prize in their family- simply because she was the only girl in the second half of the family and she was the new baby. "The day she was born," remembers Ruth, "Daddy handed her to me and said 'This is Your Girl'. When she was six weeks old, we dressed her all in satin and I took her to school for show and tell.' I took care of Patty because I was the oldest at home. And so I became her second mom- that's how she still addresses her cards to me." Patty was the baby girl of the family- and John and Naomie were very protective of their daughter. Patty was not allowed to go anywhere without anyone. "Patty being the baby daughter, Mom and Dad had dreams for her. They thought she was going to be something some day, and they didn't want anything to happen to her. They wanted her to be 100 percent perfect. Here in Louisville, she couldn't go anywhere without someone else going with her, not even down the street. Patty was a good kid. She didn't get into any trouble, ever. They were just afraid she'd run into the wrong person." explains brother Jeff. When they allowed Patty to date, they insisted on her brother Michael chaperon her.
Patty was blessed with a wonderfully melodious voice. She was so shy, through, that when her mother asked her to sing for company, she stood alone in a room letting her voice carry to the next room. Patty's father, John, moved his family to Louisville, KY when Patty was a young girl in order to seek better medical care for himself. Patty had a hard time making friends at her new school, and the kids at school picked on the new girl. So John went out and bought his youngest daughter a guitar and sent her on some guitar lessons.
When Patty was 12, she went with her mother, sister Dottie, and three of her brothers to visit their big brother, Wayne, who was in the army. There was a country band playing while they chatted, and Naomie told the guitar player that she had a daughter that sang, and they needed a girl singer. The musician told her to bring her on up. Patty's big sister Dottie stepped on stage and Patty remembers to this day how beautiful Dottie looked that day, wearing a brown suit, that matched her hair. Patty looked around the room at all the guys staring at her sister, mesmerized by her voice. Patty decided then that she wanted to do what Dottie was doing.
Dottie and and their brother Roger sang together as a duo around their town. When Dottie went and got married, Roger decided to push Patty out onstage and be the new part of his duo. He got Patty onstage when she was 12 years old at a jamboree in Louisville. Patty was terrified and when she was offstage, noticed she had a huge red rash from being so nervous across her chest, and her sister claimed that her right leg "shook a lot". Patty told her that she was just "into the music"- but she knew instantly that she loved it, and loved the 5.00 they handed her when she walked off stage- the first money she ever earned. She and Roger became known as 'The Singin, Swingin Rameys', a name given to them by deejay friend Danny King.
When Patty was 14, she and Roger traveled down to Nashville. Roger got Patty and himself in Porter's office and Porter listned to Patty pour her heart out in the songs she had written. Porter loved hearing this young girl sing. He encouraged her to finish her schooling, but wanted to help her out. He became a friend to the kids, and introduced them to Dolly Parton. Dolly instantly became like a sister to Patty- and each trip to Nashville, Dolly gave Patty tips- from songwriting to showing her how to apply makeup. However, when she turned 16, she began to sing with the Wilburn Brothers. Their previous girl singer had been Loretta Lynn, and she left to pursue her solor career. Doyle Wilburn held Patty's Publishing contract- he knew Patty could write a good song. He looked upon Patty as a daughter, protecting her and looking out for her on the road. When Patty graudated High School, she moved to Nashville and continued going out on the road with the Wilburns.
While on the road with the Wilburns, Patty noticed a new drummer, Terry Lovelace. Terry was from the Mountains of North Carolina, and reminded Patty a lot of the guys from Pikeville. The two began dating before too long, and tried to be discreet about it. Patty felt she was being suffocated on the road with the Wilburns- everywhere she went, someone was telling her what to do. So Patty did what she wanted to do- and moved to North Carolina with Terry on her 19th birthday. And not long after, she married him. Patty first worked as a waitress in his mother's restaurant, and then became the girl singer for Terry's rock band. The couple played in rowdy joints and Patty sang covers of rock songs, a lot of Linda Ronstadt and some Bonnie Raitt. Playing in the illegal juke joints, Patty and Terry both began to drink.
In 1979, Patty got a phone call from her mother in law, telling her that her father had died. "I just ran out of the trailer and kept going. Terry had to come after me" Patty says softly. The loss hit Patty hard. Her drinking had gotten so out of hand and her bandmates had to carry her back to her room one night. "I felt I'd let my family down so I started to cut my wrists. I was crying and kicking myself in the butt at the same time and and all of a sudden, my mother came to me. At that point I popped up and started going, 'Alright if your mother can live through moving away, living in a strange city, lising her daughter, who ran off, and losing the father of her children, losing her soulmate, losing her friend, losing her companion for life, what gives you the right to drink your life away? What gives you the right to take your life away? She gave you life. Why should you take that from her?' And that stopped me. And finally, after that...things started to change."
Patty stopped drinking and divorced Terry. Her brother Roger got her to make a demo tape and got into MCA Executive Tony Brown's office. He told him "if you dont hear this girl sing, your going to miss out on the best girl singer in your whole town.". Brown told him he had two minutes, and Roger played "I Did" for him. Patty moved back to Nashville and got her first deal with MCA records. She was introduced to Emory Gordy Jr, who would later play a huge role in her life by becoming her second husband. She made 5 records on MCA- and had a string of hits, including a few number one singles. However, after the release of "Up Against My Heart", Patty felt as though she was getting lost in the shuffle of all the new artists MCA was signing. In the end, Patty was able to leave MCA and she signed with Epic Records, a division of Sony Music.
In the fall of 1992, Patty found she had a leaking blood vessel on her vocal chords. If surgery was not done immediately, her singing career was over. Tour dates were cancelled, and Patty was admitted to Vanderbilt Voice Clinic for surgery. She was to remain completely silent for awhile after, and on her birthday in 1993, she and Emory went back in the studio and recorded "Only What What I Feel", her first record for Epic. Her voice was so much more powerful that Emory scrapped any of the old recordings he had for the album and started from scratch. The records first single, "Blame it On Your Heart", shot straight to number one, and the record became Patty's first to go platinum.
In June of 1996, Patty's beloved sister Dottie passed away. The loss hit Patty hard, and she had no time to mourn as a month and a half later, Emory became deathly ill and was placed in the Hospital. He was put on respirators and was close to dying. Patty cancelled her tour dates and came home to be by his side. Emory survived the ordeal and is currently in good health. After the near death experience, Patty took some time off to stay at home to spend time with Emory and be a normal wife. They built their dream home in Georgia, and worked on her next record.
The time off proved to be a great move. Patty returned to radio, charts, and touring in the summer of 2000, with the release of "Strong Heart". Fans were thrilled to see Patty back out on the road. Since then, Patty has cut back on her touring and currently only tours throughout the summer & into the fall, staying at home during the winter months.
Since signing with Epic Records, Patty has made 9 records, (plus a Greatest Hits release) including her Bluegrass Masterpiece, "Mountain Soul". It was one of the highest praised records of 2001, and was a labor of love for Patty & Emory, who dedicated the record to Patty's parents.
Patty released "Dreamin' My Dreams" on September 13th, 2005. The first single, "Keep Your Distance" was released to Country Radio & a video was produced. The record was released with Piracy Software on it & Sony Music had to issue a recall. No other singles were released from the record, and shortly thereafter, Patty left Sony Music. She took 2006 & 2007 off to heal from the loss of her mother-in-law and mother, and returned to the music & touring world in 2008, with the release of "Sleepless Nights", on Saguaro Road Records. Just a year later came the release of "Mountain Soul II". Patty is currently not touring.