COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME LEGEND LORETTA LYNN DONATES “VAN LEAR ROSE” MANUSCRIPT TO THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME® AND MUSEUM COLLECTION
Van Lear Rose, a spotlight exhibit celebrating the artistic re-birth of American popular culture icon Loretta Lynn, opens at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum on Friday, February 4, for a three-month run.
Included in the spotlight is the manuscript for “Van Lear Rose,” the title song from Lynn’s 2004 CD release, which Lynn recently donated to the Museum’s permanent collection. The Van Lear Rose CD, produced by Jack White of the White Stripes, has garnered national critical acclaim and five current Grammy nominations. The album melds Lynn’s hard country singing style and straight-talking songs with raw, stripped-down arrangements and garage-rock rave-ups.
“Other exhibit items bring the CD’s cover art to life and serve to remind the visitor of Lynn’s stature as one of the most important singer-songwriters in country music history,” said Mick Buck, the Museum’s curator of collections. “As exemplified by her hand-written lyrics to the title song, Lynn wrote every song on Van Lear Rose.”
Spotlights are a series of informal exhibits that supplement specific themes or aspects of the Museum’s permanent exhibition, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music. In addition to the song manuscript and a poster-size image of the CD cover, artifacts loaned for the exhibit from Lynn’s personal collection include
*Lynn’s exceptionally rare 1964 Excellente model Epiphone guitar, made by Gibson, featuring a maple neck and Brazilian rosewood body and customized with the artist’s name inlaid in the fingerboard. Lynn composed the majority of the songs on Van Lear Rose with this instrument. For the Van Lear Rose CD cover art, she posed with the guitar in front of the vintage house in east Nashville where the album was recorded.
*The dreamy blue-storybook gown, fit for a Prince’s bride, that Lynn wears in the cover photo was designed by Lynn’s long-time personal assistant, Tim Cobb, who has been designing her stage wear for the past 27 years. The dress has a fitted bodice with a dropped waist adorned with white beads, snowy lace and the sparkle of aurora borealis rhinestones. The tulle skirt and chapel train billow over several underskirts and scintillate with all-over silver pointelle. The fairy tale gown, including flesh-colored fabric cut into the waist and neckline, underscores the feminine sensibilities that inform Lynn’s most powerful songs. Her dyed-to-match high-heel slippers are trimmed with the same lace and beading as the dress bodice.
The Kentucky coal-mining town Van Lear is near the location of Lynn’s birthplace and childhood home, Butcher Holler. Butcher Holler was known as Webb Holler before Lynn used poetic license to rename the area in her signature song “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Loretta Lynn was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. In 2003, she became the first woman in country music to receive a Kennedy Center Honor.