A lot of people think country music is dead. Loretta Lynn is one of them.
The country music legend, who had a few brushes with death herself in recent years, has since recovered and has been edging back into the spotlight here and there. She was honored with an all-star tribute concert in Nashville last year. And now, as the Tennesseean points out, she’s gone on Martina McBride’s Vocal Point podcast to sound off about the state of her genre.
“I think it’s dead,” Lynn said on the podcast, which went online Thursday. “I think it’s a shame. I think it’s a shame to let a type of music die. I don’t care what any kind of music it is. Rock, country, whatever. I think it’s a shame to let it die, and I’m here to start feeding it.” Lynn went on to call country music “a sad situation.” We can neither confirm nor deny that Lynn collaborator Jack White’s voice rang out with a resounding “AMEN!” across the Nashville skyline Thursday.
Lynn’s comments of course elicited a range of strong reactions, so she issued a clarifying statement on Facebook later in the day:
Well, it seems I made a big stir with this one! This story is from my chat with my sweet friend Martina McBride on her new podcast, “Vocal Point”. Y’all know I say what I think when I think it! I love country music and I’m so proud of the rich heritage of our kind of music. Real country tells our stories, comes from our hearts, and gets us through life. My main point to Martina is that there’s such a hard push to crossover and change it up, and do something new that we can lose what country music really is all about. I like it country–pure, simple, and real! I am so proud of all the artists out there, especially the younger ones, who know what I mean and are still keeping it country. When you love something you can’t just stand by quietly if you think it’s in danger. One thing’s for sure, if we keep it country, the fans will keep on listening, I know in my heart that it’s what they want!
No one can dispute that the kind of traditionalist country music Lynn loves is dead or dying. Whether there’s still a mass audience for it is definitely up for debate. It may be that the country music of old, like that old-time rock ‘n’ roll, is now a niche proposition. Then again, everything comes back around eventually. What do y’all think?
Subscribers to the Luminary podcast network can listen to Lynn’s 42-minute Vocal Point episode here. Her Facebook post is below.