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Loretta Lynn has always been known for her straightforward and unfiltered approach to storytelling through her music. In her conversation with Charlie Rose in 1997, she brought that same openness to the table. The encounter between the Queen of Country herself and the acclaimed interviewer was filled with both compelling stories and candid moments, including when Rose asked Loretta why the business of country music had taken the direction it did.
“You know, I don’t know, really. I’m getting so tired of seeing videos with cowboy hats and pickup trucks. I’ve been in enough of them pickup trucks. I went into Nashville, myself, looking like Annie Oakley, so I don’t know why they’re just bringing it back today…It ain’t nothin’ new.”
Emerging as a prominent figure in the 1960s and 70s, Loretta has maintained her status as an enduring and influential artist. Singing country music has always been an important part of both her professional and home life. Her sister, Crystal Gayle is also a highly-respected artist in country music.
With multiple number one albums and awards from both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music, it’s no surprise that Loretta has been an inspiring force in country music. Not only was she the first female artist to have a country album certified gold, but she was the very first female artist to be named entertainer of the year by CMA.
In a 2016 interview with Time Magazine for the release of her album Full Circle, Loretta shares her thoughts on the change in country music once again.
“We don’t have real country music anymore, not like they used to have. It’s more or less a pop sound. I think someone will probably save it. They’re going to have to, because you can’t lose something that we’ve had for a hundred years.”
With iconic artists like Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, and George Strait dominating the charts in the 90s, country music had firmly established itself as a mainstream genre. There was a notable shift towards a more contemporary sound, with artists blending traditional country elements with pop and rock influences, resulting in a wave of crossover hits. This was a pivotal time that marked the genre’s ability to adapt and evolve while staying true to its roots, securing its place in the hearts of fans for years to come.
Watch Loretta’s full interview with Charlie Rose.