By Tim Donnelly
SAVANNAH, Georgia (Billboard) – Country legend Loretta Lynn is preparing two projects this year to follow up her 2004 crossover hit, “Van Lear Rose.”
Lynn, 74, is working on an album of new material that she says could be ready by late spring. The album will be in her traditional country style but will deal with modern issues.
“(A friend) told me: ‘Loretta, don’t quit writing, because if you do, no one in Nashville is writing songs,'” Lynn tells Billboard. “I write about what’s happening today and how I feel.”
The second project, an album of re-recorded versions of her No. 1 hits from the past four decades, is being produced by John Carter Cash and could hit stores this summer.
Lynn says the idea for that album came out of her live performances, at which she finds crowds clamoring for old favorites, particularly “Dear Uncle Sam.” Lynn released that anti-Vietnam War song in 1966, and it became her first self-penned track to make the top 10. But, she says, it has gained new resonance with anti-war crowds today.
“I want to make sure that they get all the old No. 1 hits over the years,” she says. “They holler for them.”
Lynn’s children and grandchildren usually join her on stage for live performances these days, and have also been in the studio to help with the album. Cash, the only child of Johnny Cash and June Carter and a country music singer and songwriter himself, is easy to work with because Lynn and his father were close, she says.
The Grammy-winning “Van Lear Rose” was produced by the White Stripes’ Jack White, who also contributed vocals and guitars. The two stay in touch, but Lynn says she doesn’t get to see him very often. But she says she plans to call him soon “see what the devil he’s up to.”