Loretta Lynn: Country star wins us over again

Loretta Lynn: Country star wins us over again

Along with Dolly Parton, the coalminer’s daughter from Kentucky has been an unstoppable force in country music for six decades and, at 88, shows no sign of calling it quits. Remarkably, neither Loretta’s voice nor her spirits show any hint of deteriorating – as the defiant title track makes clear. The album mixes self-assured originals with covers such as I Saw The Light while she breathes new life into trad numbers.

The simple, upbeat Keep On The Sunny Side radiates positivity like Paddington Bear after a lottery win. It began life as a folksy late 19th-century hymn and was a hit for the Carter Family in the 1920s.

That burning need to look on the bright side of life stems from real poverty.

As a child, Loretta wore floursack dresses, ate possum meat and didn’t see a toilet that flushed until she was 13.

This is her 50th studio album – not counting her two live ones, 36 compilations and 10 albums with Conway Twitty – and it celebrates women in country music, with guest appearances from Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Tanya Tucker and Margo Price.

It’s also a lockdown look back at Lynn’s own career with a terrific new version of her first single, 1960’s I’m A Honky Tonk Girl, about a betrayed blonde who breaks men’s hearts for fun – a song inspired by a real-life encounter.

Her own numbers reflect her inner steel.

She duets with Tanya Tucker on You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man) and gives a moving recitation of Coal Miner’s Daughter over a gently plucked banjo.

She’s remarkable, a genuine star from an era when fame was a product of talent and hard graft rather than hype and auto-tuning.

Published at Fri, 19 Mar 2021 16:00:41 +0000