Country music pioneer Loretta Lynn turned 85 on Friday, and she’s marking the occasion in a big way, with two sold-out performances this weekend at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and word that she’ll release a new studio album in August.
“Wouldn’t It Be Great” is the latest product of nearly a decade’s worth of recording at the Cash Cabin Studio with co-producers John Carter Cash and Lynn’s daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell.
The album, due Aug. 18, highlights Lynn’s songwriting, with several new compositions interspersed with new interpretations of some of her signature songs, both new and old.
“I think you try to do better with every record you put out,” Lynn said. “It’s just everyday living — and everybody wants to know, ‘Well, what is it about your songs that people like?’ I think you’ve got to tell your stories. I just think it hits everybody, you know, the songs.”
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Along with the new songs, which include “Ain’t No Time to Go,” “Ruby’s Stool” and “I’m Dying for Someone to Live For,” Lynn has recorded new versions of “God Makes No Mistakes” from her double Grammy-winning 2004 album; “Van Lear Rose,” on which she teamed with producer Jack White; and such cornerstone songs from her catalog as “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).”
She’s scheduled for another pair of shows at the Ryman, widely referred to as “the Mother Church of Country Music,” on Aug. 25 and 26, shortly after the album is released.
This weekend’s Ryman shows kicked off a slate of 30 performances she’s scheduled to play through the summer and into the fall.
When not on the road touring, Lynn has been recording regularly with Cash and Russell, stockpiling material intended to extend her legacy over the next several years.
“Full Circle,” the first product of those sessions, was released last year. Her first new studio collection in a dozen years, it earned a Grammy nomination.
As Lynn said about the release of that album, “I’m going to keep working till they put me down. But I ain’t figurin’ on going anytime soon.”