More than 50 studio albums into her iconic career, Loretta Lynn revisits her roots with an LP that takes her Full Circle. With the album’s “Who’s Gonna Miss Me?” the influence of the Carter Family takes center stage as the singer-songwriter humbly wonders, “Who’s gonna want to follow in my footsteps, maybe/ Who’s gonna miss me when I’m gone.”
As the lyrics look ahead to the uncertain future, the tune moves from spare, acoustic instrumentation in the first verse, featuring Mother Maybelle Carter-inspired guitar, then introduces piano in the rolling style of Floyd Cramer, echoing vintage Music Row production and Lynn’s early hits with producer Owen Bradley. But it’s the poignant lyrics and the hope Lynn expresses that she’s done something worthwhile, or at the very least made an impact on one person’s life, that shine throughout the simple tune, as she sings, “If there’s one thing I’ve done, I’d like to know I left someone who’s gonna miss me when I’m gone.”
In addition to exploring the music that inspired her with Full Circle, Lynn duets with Willie Nelson on the album and sings with Elvis Costello on “Everything It Takes,” a tune she co-wrote with Todd Snider and says they completed in about 30 minutes.
“Sometimes I can write a song real fast, and sometimes it’ll take me two, three days,” Lynn tells Rolling Stone Country. “And I get so aggravated that I’ll probably lay it down and go back to it later. But that song came easy. I’ll come up with the title first and, when I come up with the title, I always know I got a good title.”
In yet another testament to Lynn’s wide-ranging influence, the Country Music Hall of Fame member will be the subject of the documentary series, American Masters. The episode, titled “Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl,” airs March 4th on PBS, the same day that Full Circle is released.