Loretta Lynn just turned 90

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “I like all kinds of music except country,” I’d make a Saudi prince blush. Every time I hear this banal phrase, I ask a follow-up question. “Oh, yeah, who did you listen to?”

To which they will invariably reply: “I told you, I don’t listen to country.

Part of me thinks the memetic hatred for country music stems from the Southern history of bigotry and religious fanaticism. Since the South has a bad reputation, so does everything that emanates from the region. Which, you know, I can kind of understand, but the music is independent.

The artist I usually use to melt people’s cold shoulder to country music is Loretta Lynn. Lynn’s ability to ensnare a listener in a grim tale of rural life is unparalleled in my book. In the song linked above, Lynn paints a portrait of a woman marveling at advances in modern contraception — and, by extension, feminism — while reluctantly expecting her sixth or seventh child. The song is a pretty liberal idea wrapped in a genre that’s loved by good ol’ boys and rednecks alike.

Lynn’s 90th birthday was yesterday, and a slew of country heavyweights helped her celebrate, and I plan to do the same. Happy belated birthday, Mrs. Lynn; thank you for the jams.

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