America’s beloved “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Webb Lynn, passed away at home. “The Queen of Country Music” died in her sleep on Oct. 4, 2022, at her family ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee; she was 90. During her incredible singing-songwriting career, the girl from Butcher Holler, Kentucky’s music catalog included lyrics that ignited generations with songs like her debut single, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” which dropped in March 1960 and hit number 14 on Billboard.
“Country Music’s First Girl Singer” decided to stop touring after suffering a stroke five years ago. However, she performed a show for her birthday in 2019 and dropped her 50th studio album “Still Woman Enough” in March 2021, which was co-produced by her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash.
Miss Loretta’s final album features her niece Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Margo Price, and Tanya Tucker. “The 13-song collection celebrates women in country music and includes new compositions with reinterpretations of songs from throughout [her] catalog,” explained Sam Sodomsky for Pitchfork.
The title song, “Still Woman Enough,” features McEntire and Underwood, the new rendition of the 1972 Single of the Year, “One’s on the Way,” features Margo Price, and Tanya Tucker is featured in the latest version of Lynn’s 1966 hit, “You Ain’t Woman Enough.”
Aslak Gjennestad commented on the title song’s YouTube video:
Wow! What a collaboration! Loretta, Reba, and Carrie! Three great voices, but Loretta is still the best! So distinct, so powerful, and so real! And yes, Loretta is still woman enough! I enjoy the new album so much! Love from Norway. 🙂
Fans and Artists Celebrate Loretta Lynn
With her unmistakable Kentucky drawl, Lynn’s powerful voice surprises new listeners with its “tensely coiled vibrato and its deep reserves of power.” Her ever-present unmistakable Kentucky drawl is heard in every song by the trailblazing singer/composer.
“She’s louder than most, and she’s gonna sing higher than you think she will. With Loretta, you just turn on the mic, stand back and hold on,” recalls Cash.
Reba McEntire posted a loving tribute shortly after her aunt’s death this morning. Her mother, Jacqueline “Jackie,” was Lynn’s younger sister who preceded her in death. “They always reminded me a lot of each other. Strong women, who loved their children and were fiercely loyal.” She expressed gratefulness that her aunt paved “the rough and rocky road for all us girl singers,” according to Billboard author Gil Kaufman.
Country Music Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young posted Tweet:
Loretta Lynn’s life was unlike any other, yet she drew from it a body of work that resonates with people everywhere. In a music business that is often concerned with aspiration and fantasy, Loretta insisted on sharing her own brash and brave truth.
The “King of Country,” George Strait, tweeted: “We’re sure going to miss @LorettaLynn. What an amazing woman and so unbelievably talented. Very thankful she shared that will all of us fans. God bless all of the family. Rest in Peace, Loretta. See you down the road.”
Parker McCollum posted, “Listening to nothing but Loretta for the rest of the week. RIP to an absolute icon in country music.”
Another country artist, Carly Pearce, announced she would perform a tribute to Lynn at the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday night. “She showed us all how to unapologetically tell the truth,” Pearce tweeted. “I’ll be singing “Dear Miss Loretta” with a little extra love tonight at the @opry…Now she really is a Honky Tonk Angel #RIP.”
— billboard (@billboard) October 4, 2022
Miss Loretta’s Rise to Stardom
Sissy Spacek, the actress whose brilliant portrayal brought Lynn’s life story to the big screen, released a statement Tuesday afternoon: “The world lost a magnificent human being. Loretta Lynn was a great artist, a strong and resilient country music pioneer, and a precious friend. I am heartbroken.” The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” star also offered her deepest sympathies to her family, friends, and loyal fans.
The 1980 feature film “Coal Miner’s Daughter” retold the late country star’s life story based on Lynn’s memoir of the same name. Michael Apted’s memorable adaptation starred Spacek as Loretta and Tommy Lee Jones as Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn.
In Spacek’s 2012 memoir, “My Extraordinary Ordinary Life,” she recounts learning to emulate Lynn in the biopic. “The Queen of Country” helped Spacek to mimic her guitar-playing style, “nail her Appalachian accent, singing style, and speech patterns.” Miss Loretta also encouraged Spacek to sing rather than lip-sync songs in the movie.
Spacek won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for her outstanding and convincing performance. “A powerful, aspiring film about one of the best country artists of all time. Sissy Spacek did a great job portraying Loretta Lynn and earned the Oscar,” according to Claire Salisbury’s viewer review of the film on Google.
Another viewer reviewer, Brad Mills, wrote: “I was only 10 when this movie came out in theaters, so when it was added to Netflix…I couldn’t wait to watch it. The run time of 2 hours felt too short. It was extremely well-paced and shot. Another 20 minutes of fleshing out her life would have been even better. Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones were incredible, and it is amazing that Spacek did her own singing as well! Absolutely loved this movie!”
Loretta Webb Lynn’s Mini-Bio
Melvin and Clara Marie Ramey Webb welcomed their first child, Lorretta, into the family on April 14, 1932. The Webbs, who lived in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, would go on to have seven more children.
In 1948, 15-year-old Loretta married Oliver Young only one month after they met. The couple welcomed six children, Patsy, Jack Benny, Betty Sue, Ernest Ray, Clara (Cissie), Marie, and Peggy.
Ninety-year-old Loretta Webb Lynn died in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, on Oct. 4, 2022. She is survived by one sister, Crystal Gayle; three of her daughters, Patsy, Peggy, and Cissie; her son Earnest; 17 grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and several great grand-children. Loretta’s husband, son, Jack, and daughter Betty Sue preceded her in death.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Deadline: Sissy Spacek Honors Loretta Lynn As Great Artist, Precious Friend And Country Pioneer: “I Am Heartbroken;” by Greg Evans
Billboard: Reba McEntire Says ‘I Always Did and I Always Will Love’ Loretta Lynn; by Gil Kaufman
Suggest: A Look Back At Loretta Lynn’s Later Life And Career; by Jane Andrews
Pitchfork: Loretta Lynn Announces New Album Still Woman Enough; by Sam Sodomsky
Pitchfork: Still Woman Enough; by Kim Kelly
Featured and Top Image by Scott Schram Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image by JO1 Mildred Tamberg, USN Courtesy of NARA – Public Domain License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Paul Sherwood’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License