My initial reaction to Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose is indicative of the sad state of country music today. I was blown fucking away. I was SHOCKED at how good this album is. Why should I be? I mean we’re talking about Loretta Lynn! But anyone with a connection to Nashville today has little to do with the country music I love anymore… anyone except Loretta Lynn and Jack White, country music’s new royal couple.
This is an album of rustic beauty. The production is what you’d expect from Jack White; stark, simple, roomy. There’s the distinct rumbling and buzz of old beat up amps in several tracks, something any Name producer would edit right out (and that’s assuming anyone would ALLOW a noisy amp in the studio to begin with). But Jack White understands what people like me love about good rock and roll and those rules apply to good country. We like it raw and real. We like to think these folks just sat down and played their songs and if a tape machine was rolling, then all-the-better.
This is the first album in years on which Lynn pens all the songs. Maybe it took her husband of 48 years dying to bring out the emotion, or maybe she just decided she had a great batch of songs to share. Whatever it was, God bless Loretta Lynn. The range of emotion is inspiring. From the loss of “Miss Being Mrs.” To the madness that raw lust elicits in “Portland, Oregon.”
Perhaps experience gives us all perspective and a handle on our emotions and the credit for the songwriting and performance of this album goes to Loretta, but it’s taken a young buck from Detroit to capture it in it’s rawest form. White’s dedication to classic recordings has made the White Stripes the saviors of rock and roll, well now he’s saved another genre.
Stupid asses on bulletin boards everywhere are speculating on whether Jack’s giving it to the Coal Miner’s Daughter, and if he is he’s the luckiest man on the mountain. I hope they are very happy together.
You can hear a few of these songs for yourself with the Loretta Lynn ecard.