Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Earlier this month we said goodbye to The First Lady Of Country Music, Loretta Lynn. The woman who grew up in the rural hills of Kentucky went to the top of the charts and the box office in a life that spanned 90 years, with 60 of them as one of the strongest female pillars country music ever saw. Lynn wrote her own phenomenal chapter of the American dream. According to her website, she did that through 24 number one singles, 45 million singles sold and countless awards & accolades.
From her first album in 1963 she had a voice and a flair for translating the honest moments from her life into universal tales that spoke to her audience whether it was her husband’s drinking (“Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind), her first number one record in 1967), or another woman trying to come between them (“You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man), to her choice to take birth control into her own hands (“The Pill”), to her life as a southern girl (“Blue Kentucky Girl”) to her feelings about the Vietnam War (“Dear Uncle Sam”). She credited Patsy Cline as a mentor and influence and even had the chance to become friends with her before Cline died in 1963. And Lynn’s duets with Conway Twitty were some of the most popular and successful in country music in the 1970’s. She became a living legend in that genre all while still raising her six children.
In 2004 musician Jack White of The White Stripes produced Lynn’s 42nd solo studio album, Van Lear Rose. She wrote all the songs for it, with one co-credited to her late husband, Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn and another co-written with White. They promoted their duet, “Portland Oregon” on several platforms including a performance on “The Late Show With David Letterman“. White helped introduce her music to a new audience and Lynn continued her legacy as one of country music’s most revered and talented artists. She matched White note for note with a voice that still had all the strength and power of her early recordings. Their collaboration earned the pair two Grammy Awards in 2005: Best Country Collaboration with Vocals and Best Country Album.
I grew up listening to her thanks to my grandmother’s love for that genre. And she identified with Lynn because their early stories were so similar. My grandmother was a young bride, too (she got married when she was 18) and could relate to the struggles of learning about life, love & marriage at a time where most young women were completely in the dark about what to expect about any of that. Here were two women born twenty years apart in two different worlds who shared a similar background told in a song. That is the power of music. And that was the power of just one Loretta Lynn song out of the immemse catalog she blessed us with. Rest in peace to a true American artist and legend.
“Well I was born a coal miner’s daughter
In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler
We were poor but we had love
That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of
He shoveled coal to make a poor man’s dollar“.
A few snippets of Loretta Lynn’s extraordinary life (top to bottom): Lynn outside a Tennessee post office circa 1980; with her husband Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn and their twin daughters Peggy and Patsy (known as The Lynns today) at their Hurricane Mills, TN home circa 1971; with actress Sissy Spacek circa 2010, the 30th anniversary of the release of Lynn’s biopic, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”; in 2004 with musician Jack White who produced her 2004 album, “Van Lear Rose” and in the 1980’s with fellow country icon & friend, Dolly Parton. (Images found online. Original sources unknown.)
Loretta Lynn: “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1970, written by Loretta Lynn).
Stay safe and well.