Loretta Lynn may be a queen of country music, but she doesn’t seem to have much faith in the generation that could fill her shoes. During an interview on Martina McBride’s podcast Vocal Point, Lynn said she thinks country music is “a sad situation” and then added, “I think it’s dead.”
As the Tennesseean notes, the country music star didn’t hide her disappointment during the Thursday episode. “I think it’s dead,” she said. “I think it’s a shame. I think it’s a shame to let a type of music die. I don’t care what any kind of music it is. Rock, country, whatever. I think it’s a shame to let it die, and I’m here to start feeding it.”
To be fair, she’s seen quite a few colleagues literally die in the past few years alone. In 2016, country music legend Merle Haggard died. The following year, “Rhinestone Cowboy” singer Glen Campbell passed away. Even Lynn herself had a brush with death in 2017 when she suffered a stroke, though thankfully she bounced back to good health shortly after.
Naturally, her comments ruffled some cowboy hats, so she took to her personal Facebook page to explain where she was coming. Lynn wrote:
“Well, it seems I made a big stir with this one! This story is from my chat with my sweet friend Martina McBride on her new podcast, ‘Vocal Point’. Y’all know I say what I think when I think it! I love country music and I’m so proud of the rich heritage of our kind of music. Real country tells our stories, comes from our hearts, and gets us through life. My main point to Martina is that there’s such a hard push to crossover and change it up, and do something new that we can lose what country music really is all about. I like it country–pure, simple, and real! I am so proud of all the artists out there, especially the younger ones, who know what I mean and are still keeping it country. When you love something you can’t just stand by quietly if you think it’s in danger. One thing’s for sure, if we keep it country, the fans will keep on listening, I know in my heart that it’s what they want!”
When it comes to that vintage country sound, Lynn’s right: not many artists are carrying that tradition onwards. She doesn’t want to be the only one tackling it, but she’s happy to try — a few years ago, she released a brand new album at the age of 83. Still, there’s no denying that modern country music is breaking into the non-country mainstream with artists like Sturgill Simpson, The Highwomen, and Grammy-winner (for Album of the Year, no less!) Kacey Musgraves. Country music may not look like it used to, but it certainly isn’t dead.