San Diego Weekly Reader

Back in November of ’97, I was doing a live broadcast from Nashville. It was the day before the Country Music Awards. It is a crazy and massively fun, long day — a cattle-call of country stars, big and small, who move from table to table, station to station doing interviews in one big room.

I’d done so many artist interviews in my radio career, this type of day was a walk in the park for me…until she showed up.

In the middle of one of my interviews — I can’t remember who now — I heard a commotion break out in the room. I looked up and Loretta Lynn had just walked in. Suddenly, everyone — radio folks, managers, artists, security — everyone stopped what they were doing, stood up, and gave her a standing ovation.

She stood there smiling and blushing, but graciously taking it in. I remember she was wearing this gorgeous, ruffled, Old South/plantation-like, long dress — like Scarlett wore in Gone with the Wind. She was stunning, and for a quiet, petite lady, she had a massive aura that took over that room…and my heart started pounding out of my chest.

When she finally got to my table for our interview, I was insanely nervous — wringing my hands, stuttering and stammering to get my silly little questions out. I felt like the biggest goofball. Sensing that I was probably about to pass out, she reached across the table and put her hand on mine — which I’m sure was sweating — patted it, looked me in the eye with a sweet, motherly smile breaking across her face. In her quiet, Southern drawl, she said, “It’s okay, darlin’, I’m just Loretta. Nothin’ to be nervous about.” I laughed and said, ‘You are so much more than ‘just Loretta,’ Ms. Lynn.’

She was a wonderful interview — sweet, well-spoken, funny, and smart as a whip. Not to mention patient, to allow me to be starstruck in her presence