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Listen to audio of Loretta Lynn's Interview

Loretta Lynn Interview

Country Stars Central had the honor of conducting an in-person interview with the iconic Loretta Lynn in Joliet, Illinois on March 15th, 2008. It is truly a pleasure to be able to speak with one of the greatest legends in country music!

Country music legend Loretta Lynn, simply known as “The Coal Miner’s Daughter,” is one of the finest singer/songwriters of the twentieth century. Loretta’s life story is a rags-to-riches tale that many dream of but only few are destined for. Born Loretta Webb, to Ted and Clara Marie Webb, in a one-room log cabin on April 14th, 1935, in the coal mining hills of Butcher Holler, Kentucky, she is the second oldest of eight children. Loretta’s mother Clara chose to name her daughter after Hollywood actress, the beautiful Loretta Young. The early years of Loretta’s childhood were not easy. Loretta was born during the Great Depression and by the time she was six years old World War II was just beginning. Her father Ted worked endlessly all day and night as a coal miner in the Van Lear coal mines to support the family, while her mother Clara took care of the children. Loretta met her future husband, 21 year old Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, at a pie social in December 1948. On January 10th, 1949, just a few months before Loretta’s 14th birthday she and Doolittle were wed. Shortly after their marriage Loretta and Doo moved to Custer, Washington to pursue better job opportunities. By the time Loretta was just 17 years old she gave birth to her fourth child. At Doo’s urging, by the late 1950’s Loretta was playing the honky tonk circuit gaining exposure.

On February 1st, 1960, she signed her first record deal with Zero records, which was created especially for Loretta by Vancouver, BC businessman Norm Burley. Loretta’s first single “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl” (with the flipside “Whispering Sea”) became a #14 hit by the time Loretta and Doo arrived in Nashville in May of 1960. The success of the song earned Loretta her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry at the legendary Ryman Auditorium on October 15th, 1960. (It was there that Loretta has stated being so nervous that night that the tails of her dress shook uncontrollably.) “Success” became Loretta’s first Top Ten hit with “Before I’m Over You” becoming her first top 5 hit. “Wine, Women, and Song”, “Happy Birthday,”, and “Blue Kentucky Girl” soon followed. Hits like “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”, “Don’t Come Home a-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)”, “You’re Lookin’ At Country”, “Rated X”, “Fist City”, and the controversial “The Pill” fashioned Loretta’s distinctive sound and presented a fresh outlook for female country singers in the late 1960’s.

Loretta made history in country music by being the first-ever woman to win the coveted “Entertainer of the Year” award from the Country Music Association in 1972. In 1976 Loretta released her autobiography “Coal Miner’s Daughter” which became a New York Times Bestseller! In 1980 a motion picture was made about her life story appropriately entitled “Coal Miner’s Daughter” starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. In the acclaimed performance that earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress, Sissy starred as Loretta and Tommy Lee filled the role of Loretta’s ambitious husband, Doolittle. Loretta has appeared on various variety television shows and talk programs expanding her fan base beyond country music which catapulted her to super-stardom in the 1970’s. Loretta also recorded several hit duets with dear friend and longtime duet partner Conway Twitty including “After the Fire Is Gone”, “Lead Me On”, “As Soon As I Hang Up the Phone”, and “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” However, her first duet partner in the 1960’s was none other than the legendary Ernest Tubb, who took her under his wing. In 1988 Loretta received the great honor of being inducted into the prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame alongside her peers.

Loretta took a lengthy hiatus from touring and recording in the late 1980’s to care for her ailing husband Doo, who passed away in 1996. The release of her album “Still Country” in 2000 marked her return to touring and recording. In 2002 Loretta released her sequel autobiography “Still Woman Enough,” which received critical acclaim. Loretta’s latest album to date, “Van Lear Rose,” released in the summer of 2004 and produced by rocker Jack White of The White Stripes, earned her two Grammy awards in February of 2005. Last spring (March 17th, 2007) Loretta was presented with the Honorary Doctor of Music Degree by the Berklee School of Music at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.

Loretta has come a long way from her Butcher Holler, Kentucky home place. She has won just about every award there is including CMA’s, ACM’s, Billboard and Grammy’s, as well as receiving the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, DC. Loretta is currently working on a new recording project and maintaining a busy touring schedule while making frequent appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. On June 19th another honor will be bestowed upon Loretta. She will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in New York City. At 73 years young (as of April 14th, 2008), and a mother of six children, Loretta shows no sign of slowing down!

 

Biography courtesy of Country Stars Central (A Special thank you goes out to Tracey K. Houston and Donna Stroup for their assistance.)

 

 

 

(CSC) 1. It’s so great to finally sit down with you and have a visit. So tell me what’s new for Loretta Lynn?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

What’s new with me? I’ve been recording now for the last two or three months just going in every now and then you know and doing some recording. I’m doing all my old stuff over, all my #1's that I had, and a lot of my old stuff over. I’m doing some new stuff too! 

 

 

(CSC) 2. I’d like to go back a few years. You were the second oldest of eight children. What was that like for you as a young girl growing up having a large family?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Well you know it was just a bunch of us kids. I think it was kinda neat havin’ eight kids in the family you know. We all fought and we all played so it was neat.

 

(Country Stars Central)

I'm the second oldest of seven.

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Oh you are? Then you know what it's like! (Laughs)

 

 

(CSC) 3. I read once that your mother was a great musical inspiration for you when you were a young girl. What special songs did she teach you?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

She taught me the great titanic, and she taught me a lot of the old stuff that you know when there was something that happened they’d do a song about it. So mommy taught me all the old story songs. So that’s what I knew!

 

 

(CSC) 4. Speaking of your mother, you’ve mentioned before that she was a Cherokee and made her own medicines. Tell me about her special gift of having “the sight” and how did it affect you?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Well you know mommy was Cherokee and Irish and daddy was too, so I got it from both sides. And all the stories that she would tell me were all old stories that were real true like the titanic; you know the great titanic the song. And all the stuff that was real. You said you was one of seven kids, so I know you’ve probably heard some stories too haven’t ya?

 

 

(CSC) 5. Tell me the story about the first time you met your late husband Doo. What was it about him that first caught your attention?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Well it was me that had the idea to do a pie supper. Everybody called it “pie social,” but we called it pie supper. Whoever come and bought your pie could walk you home, and Doolittle bought my pie. And he walked me home that night. It was the first time I ever seen him. And one month later we got married, one month later.    

 

 

(CSC) 6. You became a mother at a very young age. What was the most gratifying part of being a mother for you? (I know that many of your children tour with you on the road)

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Well you know I think being one out of eight kids, and I was the second child, you kinda take care of all the sisters and brothers, and it was kinda like me takin’ care of my sisters and brothers when I had my first one. It wasn’t nothin' that I didn’t know how to do.

 

 

(CSC) 7. You played the legendary Ryman for the first time in October of 1960. Can you tell me about that special night at the Grand Ole Opry?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

When I first played the Grand Ole Opry, you know I don’t remember anything but pattin’ my foot while I was singin’. Ands that all I remember. And I remember runnin’ out of the Grand Ole Opry and telling my husband, “I’ve been on the Grand Ole Opry!” You know, it was quite a treat!   

 

 

(CSC) 8. You and Doo purchased a plantation home in Hurricane Mills in 1966 to raise your family. There are several stories about unsettled spirits that haunt the grounds and the mansion itself. Have you personally experienced anything there?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Yeah, Christian you’ll have to come down and visit us sometime and we’ll go over to the big house and hold a séance. (Laughs) We’ll introduce you to some of the spirits there. (Laughs)

 

 

(CSC) 9. I’d like to talk about the night that Johnny Cash invited you to be a part of country music history. What does it mean to you to be a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Well I think it probably is one of the greatest things that can happen to a country artist is to be a member of the Country Hall Of Fame.

 

 

(CSC) 10. With the current trend of doing duets in Nashville, I’m sure that everybody would LOVE to duet with you but who would you like to duet with?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Elton John. Yeah, I’d kinda like to record with Elton John!

 

 

(CSC) 11. You wear some of the most beautiful gowns onstage. You are one of the very few artists that still dress in the “traditional” country attire. Where do you get them and why do you continue to wear them?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Well Tim Cobb has been makin’ my clothes for about twenty years now, and he just keeps makin’ em for me and I keep wearin’ the gowns. I think everybody should dress up when they do the Grand Ole Opry, or when they’re a Grand Ole Opry member and they go someplace to do a show I think they oughta’ dress for the occasion. Cause’ their fans expect it you know. And I’ve had a lot of the fans say to me, “Well so and so didn’t, you know; they just dress like I do.” And they were let down really.

 

 

(CSC) 12. You’ve written two books about your life story. Do you think you were able to put everything there is to know about you in them? Do you have plans to release another?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Not really, the second book that was written it was just more or less I was listenin’ to everybody else you know, there probably wasn’t nothing in that book that meant nothing you know. It wasn’t one from my heart, let’s put it that way.

 

 

(CSC) 13. Throughout your career you tackled many controversial issues. Do you think that through your songwriting you were able to relay the way you felt to the listeners and your fans?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

I think every song that I’ve ever written is about some story that has happened to me or someone I know, you know.

 

 

(CSC) 14. You were very dear friends with Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette among others. How did you first meet and can you share some special stories from your friendships with these women?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Well Christian, Patsy Cline was probably the closest person to me at the time, and when she passed away it was really hard on me, you know. Because I lost the only friend, real good close friend I had. And then Tammy Wynette and I were close, and she passes away, so it was hard.

 

 

(CSC) 15.  What about today's country, are you satisfied with the direction country music is going?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

You know when it comes to country music anymore I just record the way I wanna record. I don’t pay any attention to what they’re doin’ today really because if you do it’s not gonna’, you’re not gonna’ be happy, because they’re not really cuttin’ country music today.

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Do you think?

 

(Country Stars Central)

No.

 

(Loretta Lynn)

(Laughs) Well I don’t either.

 

(Country Stars Central)

Well, Sarah Johns is pretty good, she’s a new artist!

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Who is that?

 

(Country Stars Central)

Sarah Johns, she’s traditional. She loves you!

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Oh I don’t know her. Well bless her heart. Well I don’t think I’ve met her either. We’ll have to meet her sometime…

 

 

(CSC) 16. Your twin daughters Peggy and Patsy also known as The Lynns are also a part of the business. What’s the best advice you have given them?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Gee-whiz, I don’t know if it’s in the music business or what. (Laughs) I think that they watched their Momma down through the years, and I don’t think I really had told them what to do, you know. I think I feel like they ought to know!   

 

 

(CSC) 17. What’s one thing that you want to be remembered for twenty years from now?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Oh, something I wanna’ be remembered for? Probably songwritin’ cuz I’d rather write a song than sing it I think, yeah.   

 

 

(CSC) 18. Lastly, what can your loyal fans that have followed you from day one expect next from you?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

My fans can expect anything, and I think they all know that too! (Laughs) My fans will ask me, “what are you gonna’ do next?” Well, hide and watch! (Laughs)

 

(Country Stars Central)

Hide and watch?

 

(Loretta Lynn)

Hide and watch! (Laughs)

 

(Country Stars Central)

That’s a wrap!

 

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