Lynn’s 50th solo release is a fine celebration of women in country/Americana.
Regarded by many as reigning Queen of Country Music, Loretta Lynn has more than 50 years as a recording and touring artist under her belt and on ‘Still Woman Enough’, her 50th solo release, she demonstrates that she is still at the top of her game. Its 13 tracks, a mixture of originals and covers, span the whole of her career, from her first single ‘Honky Tonk Girl’, released in 1960, to the title track, a new song co-written with her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell. With a clear theme of female empowerment, as she sings “I’m still woman enough/still got what it takes inside/I know how to love, lose and survive/ain’t much I ain’t seen and I ain’t tried/been knocked down but never out of the fight/I’m strong but I’m tender/wise but I’m tough/and let me tell you when it comes to love/I’m still woman enough”, it sets the tone for the album, delivering songs across the country/Americana spectrum with panache and energy.
The title track features a full band country arrangement, with fiddle, dobro and mandolin adding bluegrass flavours, while on ‘Honky Tonk Girl‘, another original, pedal steel, piano and banjo are added to the mix in a spirited reworking of the song.
Her signature song, ‘Coal Miners Daughter’, first released in 1970, is given an emotional treatment as a recitation, with only a banjo for accompaniment, her conversational delivery letting the listener feel that they’re there with her on her front porch.
Lynn has described her new album as a celebration of women in country music, and it features collaborations with Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood on the title track, and duets with Tanya Tucker on ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough’ and Margo Price on ‘Ones On The Way’. On the latter she revisits her hit from 1971, written by Shel Silverstein, a satirical view of motherhood, still sounding current today, in jaunty two-step style, and with that edge of humour delivering an important message, which has served the genre so well over the years.
Her selected covers include classics such as ‘Keep on the Sunny Side’ and her arrangement of Stephen Fosters’ ‘Old Kentucky Home’, and with a leaning to gospel country on Hank Williams’ ‘I Saw the Light’, and traditional gospel song ‘Where No-one Stands Alone’.
Produced by Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash, the album features Cash on acoustic and electric guitars, other notable contributions come from Shawn Camp on mandolin and acoustic guitar, Jeff White and Laura Weber White on acoustic guitars, Tony Harrell on piano and Paul Franklin and Robbie Turner sharing duties on steel.
A fine distillation of fifty years in the business, and still going strong, for Lynn.