Country legend Loretta Lynn made her chart debut in 1960, and she's captivated music fans ever since. Now 69 years-old, her latest CD takes her in a new musical direction. She teamed with 28-year-old Jack White of the Detroit rock duo White Stripes. The album recently became Loretta's highest Billboard 200 chart debut. Reviews include such glowing comments as "remarkable," "inspired," "magical" and "extraordinary."
Loretta Lynn pays tribute to her late mother in the title track of her new album Van Lear Rose. Several record companies competed to release the project, which has been called the album of Lynn's career. Loretta chose Interscope Records, and, for the first time in her career, she was given ownership of the master recordings.
The personal collection of 13 songs, all written by Lynn, was produced by the White Stripes' Jack White. A longtime fan of the Country star, he dedicated his group's 2001 album to Loretta. That same year, the band recorded a cover of Loretta's Rated X.
Last year, she joined the White Stripes on stage at a New York concert. That led to the idea of collaborating in the recording studio.
"We just kind of fell into it because we did a show together and from there on we just knew each other," Lynn explains. "We did our video together. He did the producing on my whole album."
White also duets with Loretta on the album's track Portland, Oregon.
Loretta and Jack recorded Van Lear Rose in only 12 days. White wanted to capture a live sound, so Lynn's vocals were recorded in one take, he hired his own musicians instead of using Nashville's leading session players, and no digital studio equipment was used. Loretta says, "He didn't want a real polished sound. This one's just raw, like we're sitting in the front room singing."
Van Lear Rose has brought Loretta a new generation of fans, in the same way the late Johnny Cash won a younger audience with the albums he recorded with rock producer Rick Rubin.
It's been more than 10 years since Loretta appeared on Billboard's album charts. Van Lear Rose recently entered the Country Albums list at Number 2 and the Billboard 200 chart at Number 24.
Many of Loretta's new songs deal with her own life experiences. She addresses infidelity and a dysfunctional marriage in Trouble On The Line and Family Tree. Loretta's sometimes-difficult 48-year marriage ended in 1996, when Mooney Lynn died following a long illness. She pays tribute to her late husband in Miss Being Mrs. And, for anyone who's unfamiliar with Loretta Lynn's upbringing and rise to fame, she gives us a summary in the album's final track, Story of My Life.