Loretta Lynn – Wouldn’t It Be Great

True stories about childhood poverty and a sometimes turbulent marriage fuel Loretta Lynn’s best-known work. Obvious cuts like “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” make the singer’s public image synonymous with her rocky journey from lowly Butcher Holler to her enviable Hurricane Mills estate. By sharing troubling details about her life, Lynn earned and maintained the sort of authenticity valued by country music fans.

Despite featuring new versions of the before-mentioned autobiographical statements, the living legend’s recent album Wouldn’t It Be Great reminds us all of her talent as an interpreter of more than just first-person confessionals.

Just as Dolly Parton doesn’t always write lyrics about poor folks and butterflies, Lynn often departs from singing about Appalachian living and knucklehead men. On her new album alone, Lynn interprets an old folk standard (“Lulie Vars”) and points to her massive and impressive country-gospel catalog (“God Makes No Mistakes”). She’s also a third-party observer of the barroom spat that inspired the album’s best song, “Ruby’s Stool.” In each case, fans get lovable ole Loretta even though she’s not singing about her real-life resolve.

Recorded at the historic Cash Cabin by daughter Patsy Lynn-Russell and fellow famous progeny John Carter Cash, the album celebrates the type of material that made Lynn one of popular music’s living legends. For it to exist at a time when she’s dealt with health setbacks including a 2017 stroke and a broken hip back in January, the entire 13-song collection might be the best musical embodiment of her charming and productive stubbornness to date.

Loretta Lynn
Wouldn’t It Be Great
[Sony Legacy]