Artist: Loretta Lynn
Title: “Van Lear Rose”
This experiment shouldn’t work this well.
Jack White, formerly of The White Stripes, joins buddies from the garage rock circuit to form a backing band Loretta Lynn dubbed the “Do Whaters” for their ability to play whatever roles the recording required.
It ties together Lynn’s edgy back story with a raw form of country rock. Lynn is unafraid to lay things bare – “I wouldn’t dirty my hands on trash like you,” she seethes in “Family Tree.”
When “Van Lear Rose,” named after Lynn’s childhood as a coal miner’s daughter, works well, it’s a beaut’. Her duet with White on “Portland, Oregon” is a wonderful mash-up of the best qualities of each, with fire in Lynn’s voice matching White’s guitar flares.
There are places where the experiment doesn’t work, too. “Little Red Shoes,” which finds Lynn delivering a spoken word story over a gentle country beat, doesn’t deliver. White’s influence is most apparent on “Have Mercy,” which, despite being a serviceable country rocker, doesn’t fit in here.
Still, this confluence of talent is a complete mismatch that works better than anyone could have or should have expected.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.