Loretta Lynn celebrated her 50th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member
during a Tuesday night (Sept. 25) performance in Nashville. She attracted some special guests onstage, too. As Miranda
Lambert and Lee Ann Womack explained it, you haven’t sung unless
you’ve sung with Loretta Lynn.
Aside from her impressive collection of hit songs and recordings,
it was clear that younger singers still feel a personal bond to Lynn long before they actually meet her.
“I would sit
in my bedroom in East Texas and didn’t have any way to go anywhere,” Womack said during a preshow press conference. “I had
a lot of her cassette tapes at the time and would listen to her. It was like she was a friend even then. I felt like I knew
her. So it’s great to get to be with her.”
She said she’s tried to follow Lynn’s advice and example.
time I ever met Loretta, she had heard my single,” Womack recalled. “I was brand new, and I had one single out. She heard
it and liked it. It was really, really country. She told me, ‘Just don’t let them push you pop.’ … And I never did, thanks
Lambert says she was overwhelmed after first meeting Lynn when they began working with Sheryl
Crow on the title track of the 2012 album, Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn.
“And it was
the best day, probably of my life, besides my wedding day,” she laughed, adding, “Don’t tell my husband I said that.
was just overwhelming. I got to sit in the kitchen at her house and just talk to her. I kept reminding myself, ‘Oh, my gosh,
I’m talking to Loretta Lynn.’ I just felt like I was talking to a friend, just like somebody I’d known all my life. She just
kind of takes you in and gives you a hug and you just feel so warm when you’re in her presence.
“I remember at the
end of the day, doing interviews, I just broke down bawling and couldn’t stop. Every time I’m around her, I just realize what
she’s done for women in country music, and the reason I feel like I get to stand up here is because of what she laid the groundwork
for. I’m just thankful that she likes me and calls me country.”
Lynn sang “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” a song released
in 1960 on the independent Zero Records label, during her first performance on the Opry.
“That was my first record.
On Zero. And that’s exactly what it made me,” she quipped during the press conference.
Before that, however, she and
her late husband Mooney Lynn attended an Opry performance.
“Me and my husband got in town the night before,” she said.
“We spent the night in the car out in front of the old Grand Ole Opry. Of course, we didn’t have any money. The next morning,
we divided a doughnut and ate the doughnut and took pictures of the Grand Ole Opry. Naturally, I got my picture made in front
of it.” She laughed, adding, “They weren’t going to let me in. You know that.”
Asked to explain the reasons for her
career longevity, she cracked another joke.
“I’m good,” Lynn said. “I’m only kidding now. I’ve been singing a long
time, haven’t I? I have no idea what’s kept me there. I think it’s hard work. I really do. I think that’s the answer — hard