Cover of Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose
Loretta Lynn and her songs are at the heart of country music. For more than 40 years, she's been singing and writing songs that are honest and timeless. Much of her music takes the vantage point of a strong woman not to be trifled with, like those in "Fist City," "You Ain't Woman Enough (to Take my Man)," and "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (with Lovin' on Your Mind)."
Lynn has built her career by singing about what she's seen in her own life, starting with her hometown of Butcher Hollow, Ky. She married Oliver Lynn when she was 13, and had four children by the time she was 18. Her husband bought her a guitar, and soon after she landed a record deal. She entered a partnership with the late, legendary producer Owen Bradley and a long string of hits followed.
For her latest release, Lynn collaborated with 28-year-old guitarist Jack White of the thrashy Detroit rock band The White Stripes. White produced her album, Van Lear Rose, encouraging her to write all of the songs. Lynn says the result is a diverse record, with elements — from her rock-fueled duet with White on "Portland Oregon" to the honky-tonk "Story of My Life" — that might satisfy and surprise a range of listeners.
Stopping in New York City on her tour for Van Lear Rose, Lynn spoke with NPR's Melissa Block, host of All Things Considered, about her collaboration with White.