Music Reviews

Loretta Lynn – Full Circle

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The songs on Loretta Lynn’s new album, Full Circle, are a testament to why she was the first woman inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  The album, the first for Lynn in over a decade, is a collection of 13 songs produced by Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash, and recorded at the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee.  Full Circle takes listeners on a journey through Lynn’s musical history, from the Appalachian folk songs and gospel music that she first learned as a child, to new renditions of her classic hits and country standards, to songs that were written for the new album.

A new version of 1968’s hell-hath-no-fury “Fist City” makes the cut at the request of Jack White, who produced Lynn’s last studio album, Van Lear Rose in 2004. The 1965 hit, “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” is also reprised, and it probably hits closer to home for Lynn now than when it was first written for her gospel Hymms album early on in her career.

The covers that Lynn chooses are just as crucial as the songs she selects to reinvent. She portrays a quiet, tender strength on her rendition of the Willie Nelson-minted “Always on My Mind.” She acknowledges her Appalachian roots on a cover of traditional folk song, “In the Pines.” Elvis Costello lends his vocals on the new song “Everything It Takes,” as does Nelson himself on “Lay Me Down.” Although the assists may not have been necessary, the songs will appeal to indie rocker and classic country fans, alike.

Full Circle, was released at the same time as the American Masters documentary DVD titled Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl. The album is a collection of over 50 years of writing and singing and the introduction to “The Whispering Sea” sets the tone at the beginning of the album and explains how her husband, Doolie, put a band together and she wrote all the songs just days before recording and weeks after she first signed her first recording contract on February 1, 1960. The rest of the album may not be  a  greatest  hits  package,  because  the 83-year-old  (she turns 84 on April  14th) is still writing, performing, and plotting her next move. (She’s told more than one interviewer that 90-100 songs were cut between the album Van Lear Rose and this record.) Instead, Full Circle is like sitting on a front porch in Butcher Hollow with Loretta Lynn telling the life story of “The Coal Miner’s Daughter.”  And that is simply not something that could be done in one album.

Full Circle track listing:
1. “Whispering Sea” – Introduction
2. “Whispering Sea”
3. “Secret Love”
4. “Who’s Gonna Miss Me?”
5. “Black Jack David”
6. “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven”
7. “Always on my Mind”
8. “Wine Into Water”
9. “In the Pines”
10. “Band of Gold”
11. “Fist City”
12. “I Never Will Marry”
13. “Everything it Takes”

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