Country artists and Sissy Spacek honor Loretta Lynn, who ‘paved the way for so many’
Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Mickey Guyton, Sheryl Crow, Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes and other women in country music led an outpouring of tributes to trailblazing singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn, who died Tuesday at age 90 at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.
The country music and feminist icon was known for artfully communicating the experiences of the working class through her songs, especially her 1970 hit “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” The classic tune shared a title with her bestselling autobiography and the Oscar-winning biopic about Lynn’s rise from poverty to superstardom.
Sissy Spacek, who won an Academy Award for portraying Lynn in the 1980 film, fondly remembered the real music titan in a statement provided Tuesday to the Los Angeles Times.
“Today is a sad day,” she said. “The world lost a magnificent human being. Loretta Lynn was a great artist, a strong and resilient country music pioneer and a precious friend. I am heartbroken. I send my deepest sympathies to her wonderful family, her friends, and her loyal fans.”
Over her groundbreaking half-century career, Lynn, who died on Tuesday at 90, could embody both the pain of betrayal and the thirst for revenge.
In addition to inspiring millions through her remarkable story on the page and screen, Lynn revolutionized country music by boldly challenging patriarchal practices in songs such as “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).”
“So sorry to hear about my sister, friend Loretta,” Parton wrote in a statement. “We’ve been like sisters all the years we’ve been in Nashville and she was a wonderful human being, wonderful talent, had millions of fans and I’m one of them. I miss her dearly as we all will. May she rest in peace.”
“oh, sweet loretta lynn,” Rimes tweeted. “what a life! what an icon! what a trailblazer! what a beautiful soul! may she rest peacefully with the angels. my heart is with her family and friends.”
In a follow-up tweet, Rimes shared a video of herself covering Lynn’s 1975 reproductive-rights anthem about birth control, “The Pill.”
“loretta lynn paved the way for so many of us women in country music,” Rimes captioned the clip. “what a legacy she leaves behind.”
In a statement provided to Rolling Stone, McEntire said, “I always did and I always will love Loretta. She was always so nice to me. I sure appreciate her paving the rough and rocky road for all us girl singers.”
On Instagram, Crow posted a photo of herself sharing the stage with Lynn and wrote, “The news of Loretta Lynn’s passing just came across my news feed and time stopped. There will never be another like her. May she forever sing with the angels!!”
Loretta Lynn was arguably the most important female figure in postwar country music as her music challenged the norm of domestic life in rural America.
McBride also penned a love letter to Lynn on Instagram, where she expressed gratitude for all the time she spent and laughs she shared with the Grammy winner.
“It’s so hard to feel like you have the right words. I can hear Loretta saying ‘just take your time honey,’” McBride wrote.
“We all loved her so much. ... I was always a little astonished when she called me her friend. ... I can imagine her big beautiful smile and how happy her soul must be for that. She ended every phone call the same way … ‘I love you honey.’ I love you too Loretta. I love you too.”
Underwood memorialized Lynn by recounting the first time she met her at the Grand Ole Opry at the beginning of her career. The “Before He Cheats” singer recalled Lynn walking behind her “in a big sparkly dress” and laughing as she smacked her “on the rear end.”
“She was a cantankerous little pistol…friendly and sweet…never afraid to be herself and speak her mind,” Underwood wrote on Instagram.
“She is irreplaceable. She will be incredibly missed…but her legacy lives on in those of us whom she has influenced. I am truly grateful to have known such an amazing woman and artist. Thank you, Loretta, for showing us how it’s done. May you Rest In Peace in the arms of Jesus and add your heavenly voice to the angel choir.”
Among the first to honor Lynn on Tuesday was Guyton, who shared a selfie with the beloved musician and wrote, “Rest in power sweet angel,” while Musgraves expressed her grief by simply tweeting, “Loretta” and a broken-heart emoji.
Plenty of male country singers also saluted Lynn via social media. On Twitter, Blake Shelton lamented the “terrible news about Loretta Lynn passing away” and offered “prayers to her family.”
“She was an iconic legend and did things the way she wanted,” Darius Rucker captioned a photo of himself embracing Lynn. “I am so bless [sic] to call her friend. I miss u already Loretta. Love u. And rest now u angel.”
Billy Ray Cyrus posted a cherished picture of an autograph he received from Lynn that reads, “I love you Billy Ray. You are so great.”
Country music pioneer Loretta Lynn turns 85 on Friday, and she’s marking the occasion in a big way, with two sold-out performances this weekend at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and word that she’ll release a new studio album in August.
“Celebrating the life of Loretta Lynn,” the “Achy Breaky Heart” hitmaker captioned the image on Twitter. “One of my highest honors was being joined by her and George Jones on a song I wrote called ‘Country Music Has The Blues.’ She handed me this wonderful gift on that day.”
Other artists who mourned Lynn on social media include Trace Adkins, who found comfort in the “memories of the times I was in her presence,” and Kid Rock, who uploaded a photo of himself receiving a hug from “Miss Loretta.”
“I find it very difficult to put your beautiful soul, talent and friendship into words right now,” Rock wrote. “So I will use the ones you said to me and so many others, so many times … ‘I love you honey.’”
On Twitter, Tim McGraw hailed Lynn as “a trailblazer for the genre and a role model for so many young women,” including his wife and daughters.
“Sending our love to her family and all of those grieving today,” he wrote.
“Today, all of Kentucky mourns the loss of our very own Loretta Lynn,” tweeted Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “She was a legend who blazed a trail in country music while telling the stories of Appalachia and Kentucky. She will be greatly missed, but her words and impact will live on forever.”
Even the muppet community took a moment on Tuesday to celebrate the incredible life of Lynn, who made memorable appearances on both “Sesame Street” and “The Muppet Show.”
“Thank you for always being that friend we could count on, Loretta Lynn,” the “Sesame Street” Twitter account captioned archival footage of Lynn singing a twangy duet with the Count.
“Working with our friend Loretta Lynn was unforgettable,” the Muppets Twitter account posted. “Not only was she a country music legend, but when she joined us on The Muppet Show, she proved she was game for almost anything – even putting on an entire show at a train station! Thanks for the music and memories, Loretta.”
In a statement, the chief executive of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum said, “The story of Loretta Lynn’s life is unlike any other, yet she drew from that story a body of work that resonates with people who might never fully understand her bleak and remote childhood, her hardscrabble early days, or her adventures as a famous and beloved celebrity.
“In a music business that is often concerned with aspiration and fantasy, Loretta insisted on sharing her own brash and brave truth.”
The Country Music Association also responded to news of Lynn’s death with a statement that read, “We are heartbroken to learn about the passing of Country Music legend @LorettaLynnOfficial, the Coal Miner’s Daughter.
“She paved the way for so many, inspired generations of female musicians and has forever left a mark on Country Music’s history. Our deepest sympathy goes out to her family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
According to the City News Service, flowers will be placed on Lynn’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star today at 2 p.m. at 1515 Vine St., next to that of her sister, fellow country star Crystal Gayle.
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