The Austin Chronicle

Hey, Loretta!

By Margaret Moser, June 9, 2008, 1:00pm, Earache!

Back in the day, country music queens had proper country music names: Kitty, Patsy, Tammy, Dolly. None of this Carrie, Shania, or Faith business. Those names bespoke a largely Irish, Scottish, and English heritage from the mountains, the backwoods, the rural living that informed and inspired amid a citified nation.

That tradition is deeply embedded in Loretta Lynn – in her music, lyrics, and life. It’s also in her voice, accented with Kentucky twang as tart as lemon pie and phrasing that’s a throwback to the past. In advance of her show Friday at Stubb's (which features oh-so-up-and-coming opener Sunny Sweeney), Lynn ruminated on a variety of topics as she cleaned up the kitchen in her Tennessee home:

“Don’t they love to eat down there? I’ve been wantin’ to get down there and buy me some good Mexican food. They don’t have it around here. I’ve been puttin’ away strawberries all mornin.' Got ‘em all over me. I froze ‘em to have for dessert."

“Dottie Rambo come to see me where I was workin,’ not that far from home. I brought her onstage and we sang ‘Forever.’ It hadn’t been that long ago, maybe three months. So I was shocked when she died [in a tour bus accident May 11]. Her manager’s still in hospital with them two broke legs. Sure was somethin.’ I couldn’t believe it."

“They’d banned eight of my records by the time I come out with ‘The Pill.’ When they banned it, I said, ‘Don’t spend a penny on that record ‘cause it’ll make No. 1. And it did. ‘What Kind of Girl Do You Think I Am’ – preachers got me to send that to their daughters."

“I used to never be able to pull that guitar off while I was onstage. I was afraid I’d miss timin’ with the music but I quit playin’ my guitar. I don’t wear it onstage because it’s so heavy. I’ve had my back operated on twice so I just let that go. When I start to write, I pick up that guitar. It’s one of those Gibsons, with a little hummingbird on it. That’s the one I play. They have a great tone."

“When I did Roseanne Barr’s show, I played a new one and then I give it to her. Don’t know if she can play it or not. Have to go see her and find out. That one guy she married I didn’t seem to care too much for. Didn’t like him as well. He wasn’t good for her. Gotta find one who’ll do right for you. If you don’t have nothin’ and you find one, that’s the one that’ll stay behind you, that’s the one.

“That’s why I stayed with mine [Oliver ‘Doo’ Lynn]. We was together almost 50 years when he died. He’s been gone 12 years. For [Coal Miner's Daughter], he was with Tommy [Lee Jones] for a whole year and I was with Sissy [Spacek]. That’s the way the movie company wanted it."

“Doo did drink. He loved his whiskey and I worry that’s what coulda given him sugar diabetes. I don’t know for sure but it didn’t help. It’s pure sugar, ain’t it? He lost one leg and when he lost the second, I knew he wasn’t gonna live. He liked the farm. He lived to do that. And my farm looked a lot better when he was alive."

Told of the Hey, Loretta! pie social and benefit on her birthday in April at the Continental Club:

“You’re kidding! You are kidding! It was sold out, right? You write in that paper to save me a piece of that pie! Lemon. Or maybe chocolate pie. Just tell ’em to bring Loretta a piece of pie! Come to the bus that’s got my name on it!”

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