Country music star Loretta Lynn has been creating stellar hits for the better part of a century. Although already iconic within the industry, Lynn still has more to share with her 50th studio album Still Woman Enough. Released by Lynn at 88 years old, the album reflects many of the highlights of her illustrious singing career.

Central to Lynn’s spirit is her melodic retelling of a woman’s experience in the deep south across multiple decades, children, and challenges. An important element of this was her late husband Oliver Lynn, often being both a source of inspiration and great frustration. As Lynn put it “if I write a song, he’s in there somewhere.”

Many of the songs Lynn wrote over the years were about the dynamics of marriage. One of her most popular songs “Don’t Come Home A-Drinking (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” was about her husband’s irritating behavior. Lynn says her candid marriage gave credibility to her sound, “I think it was because, you know, you’re – been a married woman. I think when you write about it, they take it to heart, too, you know, they – people do.”

Still Woman Enough carries through the line of an incredible career. Lynn’s 1971 hit “Coal Miner’s Daughter” returns in simple recitation form, encouraging extra attention to the powerful lyrics explaining Lynn’s prideful upbringing as a blue-collar daughter in the south.

Similarly nostalgic is Lynn’s masterful cover of The White’s 1963 “Keep on the Sunny Side”. The tune’s foot tapping lyrics emphasize the ups and downs of life as an awesome thing to experience. A fitting addition to an album that serves as a reflection of an enduring career.

A personal favorite from the new album is “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” Lynn was inspired to write the song after spending an intoxicated evening with a bawling woman who would later become her friend. The woman was lamenting her husband’s decision to leave her for another woman, becoming increasingly tearful as the evening went on. Interesting origin story aside, the song impressively captures raw reactionary emotion in its catchy lyrics and supporting guitars.

Loretta Lynn has lived an incredible life that inspired a lot of equally incredible music. Still Woman Enough serves as a well-deserved victory lap for a pioneering woman. I greatly enjoyed checking out the album and encourage you do as well.

Adam Kern

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