Feature

Author of the week: Loretta Lynn

The country singer reflects on a half-century of creating iconic country songs.

Loretta Lynn has always had a way with words, said Andrew Dansby in the Houston Chronicle. The legendary country singer and “coal miner’s daughter” from Butcher Holler, Ky., reflects on a half-century of creating iconic country songs in a new book entitled Honky Tonk Girl. Now 80, Lynn says she owes her career to “writing the only thing I knew: how I grew up, how I lived, and how things were.” She remembers music getting hold of her imagination when she was 3, at the moment her grandfather played her “Wildwood Flower,” by the Carter Family. “But I was just a baby then, and even when I was older, I never thought I’d get out of Butcher Holler,” she says. “Let alone doing this all these years. This was way too big for me to dream.”

Unflinching honesty has always been a hallmark of Lynn’s songwriting, said James Reed in The Boston Globe. “If I think about it, I’m gonna write it,” she says. Lynn may have forgiven her husband’s cheating, for instance, but she wasn’t afraid to tap her real feelings in such songs as “You’ve Just Stepped In (From Stepping Out on Me).” Says the singer, “He knew what he’d done, so he was pretty good about it.” Though she’s not one for regrets, Lynn surely felt a twinge of sadness when she wrote about the lost eight verses to “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” a song her producer had her trim at the recording studio. “That was the hardest thing I ever did,” she says. “I think I left the verses there that night. I just ran off and forgot them. I don’t remember now what they were.”

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