10 Things We Learned From the New Loretta Lynn Documentary
Loretta Lynn has taken her music across the country and around the world, and on the same day she travels Full Circle with the release of her first new album in more than a decade, the country music legend is also the subject of an in-depth PBS documentary film. American Masters — Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl, premiering tonight, features revealing interviews with the singer-songwriter as well as personal reflections from family members and many of the legendary performer’s famous friends who have been influenced by her artistry and inspired by her rags-to-riches story.
Among those appearing in the film are musician Jack White, actress Sissy Spacek, Coal Miner’s Daughter director Michael Apted, Grand Ole Opry legend Bill Anderson, Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, Full Circle producer John Carter Cash and Reba McEntire, who reveals the Loretta Lynn song she sings every night before hitting the concert stage.
Lynn’s story has been told before, in 1980’s Oscar-winning big-screen biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter, but with another 35 years of performing and recording behind her since then — not to mention some of her most personal challenges faced during that time frame (including the deaths of her husband Doolittle and son Jack) — there’s no shortage of dramatic elements to draw from in the two-hour film. But Still a Mountain Girl does have its lighter moments, including a wild visit to the White House.
Here are 10 things we learned from Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl.
- Her first major prize had nothing to do with country music.
She’s won Grammys, CMAs, ACMs and membership into the Country Music Hall of Fame, not to mention a Presidential Medal of Freedom. But at age 19, having moved from Butcher Holler, Kentucky, to Washington state, the young wife and mother earned recognition for another of her talents. When Lynn received her Medal of Freedom from President Obama in November 2013, he got a laugh when he told attendees at the ceremony that the singer won 17 blue ribbons for her canned vegetables at the local fair, at which she was named Canner of the Year.
- Her first guitar didn’t cost much, but was certainly worth the investment.
President Obama noted that in spite of her talent for canning, she began to focus on another of her gifts, playing a guitar purchased for $17 and writing her own songs. Obama said of the instrument, “With it, this coal miner’s daughter gave voice to a generation, singing what no one wanted to talk about and saying what no one wanted to think about. Now, over 50 years after she cut her first record and canned her first vegetables, Loretta Lynn still reigns as the rule-breaking, record-setting Queen of Country Music.”
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