It's been a long time coming, but fortunately Loretta Lynn has a brand new disc, "Full Circle," out today.
At 83, one would think Lynn might be taking it easy and slowing down. That apparently is not the case. In the liner notes for the album, producer John Carter Cash said he first was in the studio with Lynn in 2007.
Being the son of John and June Carter Cash, that meant going to the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tenn. The 14 songs on "Full Circle" are very worthy and strong.
Lynn covers some of her own songs, like "Fist City" (apparently a true story based on an interview I heard on NPR today where Lynn recalled the story of going to a woman and confronting her about her interest in Lynn's husband, Mooney)," "Secret Love" and "Who's Gonna Miss Me?" In fact, she re-recorded the first song she ever wrote nearly 60 years ago, "Whispering Sea."
There are some new songs here, too, including "Everything It Takes," which features Elvis Costello, but Elvis keeps it low key, letting Lynn take charge. And that was most welcome because Lynn sounds in really good vocal form. Yes, she has aged obviously, but there's a lot of vibrancy and softness ("I Never Will Marry") when needed in her delivery.
In fact, this disc is filled with good songs. And much credit goes to Cash on his production along with co-producer Patsy Lynn Russell, Lynn's daughter. There is no modern country twist to be heard here whatsoever. It's dyed-in-the-wool country with pedal steel, mandolin, fiddle and acoustic guitar taking over. Jamie Hartford plays electric guitar throughout, but his is no rock guitar.
Fear not. This will not upset the apple cart in terms of what's selling out there, although with I can't complain at all about Chris Stapleton being at the top of the charts. That's a good thing.
But this release is not about sales and going Platinum. It's about giving an Artist with a capital "A" the opportunity to continue demonstrating her considerable talents.
Chances are exceedingly strong that we will not have to wait another 12 years for Lynn to release a new album. Cash recorded almost 100 songs with Lynn, so there's a lot more music coming.
This reminds me of Johnny Cash who recorded a slew of songs with Rick Rubin, including about 60 songs in the last 4 months of his life. Material came out posthumously, and most all of it was high quality.
Of course, here's hoping that Lynn continues doing more recording and touring (yes, she is doing a chunk of dates this year including the Ryman) and being a presence in country music. Maybe with her help, country music will come "Full Circle" as well. This is a most welcome return.