I think I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Modern Country Music Sucks. I know I sound like an old codger (“Back in my day…”), but I’d much rather listen to Merle Haggard than the watered-down, blow-dried Hag wannabes. And I much prefer Loretta Lynn to the made-for-tv-movie bimbo parade on CMT.
But this is not some throwaway record of a 70-year-old dying country queen! Holy shit, no! On my way to work this morning, I heard “Portland Oregon” on the Rollins College radio station, WPRK. It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard all year. Loretta wrote all of the songs on the album, and Jack produced it with the kind of simple, raw energy that I love in the White Stripes. It’s got all the honky tonkin’, cheatin’, drinkin’ and murderin’ of hardcore country combined with the we-don’t-need-no-stinking-keyboards attitude of a great Rolling Stones record.
Read this great interview they did together for the New York Times:
FRISKICS-WARREN What do you say to people who see your collaboration on this album as a publicity stunt?
LYNN Play the damn thing! It’s not a gimmick. I’ve got two more in mind, and Jack and I are going to do ’em together. When I’m on the road, I say to my fans, “How many of you know the White Stripes?” And they applaud. Country people know him.
WHITE A lot of people come to shows wearing Loretta Lynn T-shirts. The last generation, someone told me, is the first to like the same music as their parents.
I don’t have much hope that any of this album will get played on commercial radio. That’s why I listen to college stations.