Loretta Lynn – Make me wanna holler
Loretta Lynn knows exactly why she decided to go ahead and make Van Lear Rose — an album different enough in sound from what many would expect, given the hundred or so records she’s made before, that people will certainly be asking questions.
“At this point, I figure it won’t make me or break me!” she laughs. “And I just thought that it would be fun. It’s time for fun now.”
It’s no secret that in the early 1980s, faced with strong pressure to make records that were more pop than the modern honky-tonk sounds which had been her natural setting in the ’60s and ’70s — the sounds of “One’s On The Way” and “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin'” and “You’re Looking At Country” — Loretta had walked away.
“Yes, I just quit recording. I said ‘Take it or leave it: if you want me to sing, it’ll be country.'”
Twenty years later, the sounds that brought the “blue Kentucky girl” to the Country Music Hall of Fame and to the White House in the administrations of six presidents are not precisely those in the foreground. On Van Lear Rose, released April 27 by Interscope, she’s backed throughout — with a bit of pedal steel and fiddle on the side — by the often screaming electric guitar of producer Jack White, of the White Stripes, and a rhythm section right out of Cincinnati garage band the Greenhornes.
“Well, we decided,” says White, “that no matter what the songs turned out to be, no matter how we arranged them, I wasn’t going to say ‘We’re going to make a country record,’ or ‘We’re going to make a rock record,’ or even ‘We’re going to combine those things.’ Let’s just let Loretta and that steel guitar be country, and whatever else happens — happens.
“Loretta’s voice is country as hell; there’s no stopping that. Whatever is going on musically, in any of her songs, once she starts singing you don’t even notice that anymore; it’s just a backdrop for her. When she starts singing, all the rest is just a trick to get you paying attention to the stories.”++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
This is an excerpt of the full article which appeared in The Best of No Depression: Writing About American Music, which features 25 of the finest articles from the magazines back issues, and was published in 2005 by University of Texas Press to help celebrate the magazines 10th anniversary. Due to our agreement with UT Press we are unable to include this article in our online archive.
The Best of No Depression is the only place you can find these articles other than our back issues. Visit the No Depression store to buy your copy for only $10.
The 300-page volume includes co-editor Grant Aldens award-winning 2001 feature on Billy Joe Shaver, co-editor Peter Blackstocks 1998 Artist of the Decade piece on Alejandro Escovedo, senior editor Bill Friskics-Warrens 2002 cover story on Johnny Cash, contributing editor Paul Cantins deep exploration of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-era Wilco; and many other high points from our print heyday.
Table of contents for The Best of No Depression:
Preface, by Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock
Los Lobos, by Geoffrey Himes
Alejandro Escovedo, by Peter Blackstock
Jon Dee Graham, by Peter Blackstock
Billy Joe Shaver, by Grant Alden
Ray Wylie Hubbard, by John T. Davis
Flatlanders, by Don McLeese
Ray Price, by David Cantwell
Johnny Gimble, by Bill C. Malone
Johnny Cash, by Bill Friskics-Warren
Rosanne Cash, by Lloyd Sachs
Lucinda Williams, by Silas House
Buddy & Julie Miller, by Bill Friskics-Warren
Kasey Chambers, by Geoffrey Himes
Loretta Lynn, by Barry Mazor
Patty Loveless, by Bill Friskics-Warren
Kieran Kane, by Peter Cooper
Paul Burch, by Jim Ridley
Hazel Dickens, by Bill Friskics-Warren
Gillian Welch, by Grant Alden
Ryan Adams, by David Menconi
Jay Farrar, by Peter Blackstock
Jayhawks, by Erik Flannigan
Wilco, by Paul Cantin
Drive-By Truckers, by Grant Alden
Iron & Wine, by William Bowers