Loretta Lynn writes new book about her friendship with Patsy Cline

Article content

Loretta Lynn will never forget how she felt the first time she met Patsy Cline.


Story continues below

Article content

It was 1961 and Cline had just been in a car accident and was recovering in the hospital when Lynn, a year after signing her first record contract, performed Cline’s hit, I Fall To Pieces, on a radio show airing after the Grand Ole Opry and dedicated it to her.

When Cline heard the song, she immediately asked her husband to arrange for Lynn to visit her.

“I was kind of nervous to meet her, I think everybody would be,” said Lynn, 88. (But) it was like we’d known each other forever and we might have, you never know. I believe in reincarnation. And if it’s true, fine. And if it ain’t, what difference does it make because I don’t think you’re going to go to hell.”

Now Lynn has written an entire book about their brief but intense friendship right up to Cline’s death in a 1963 plane crash, Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust: My Friendship with Patsy Cline, co-penned with Lynn’s daughter, also named Patsy, who born in 1964 with her twin sister Peggy.

Lynn also re-recorded I Go To Pieces which she previously recorded for her 1977 Cline tribute album, I Remember Patsy.

Country legend Loretta Lynn poses with the awards she won at the Grammys ceremony in Los Angeles 13 February 2005.
Country legend Loretta Lynn poses with the awards she won at the Grammys ceremony in Los Angeles 13 February 2005. Photo by Robyn Beck /AFP via Getty Images

We caught up with “the coal miner’s daughter” down the line from her ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.

What did you first talk to Patsy about?

Patsy almost died from that accident. She had a bunch of scars on her face, so she was upset and worried about all that because she had just started back out the road and she wanted everything to be all nice. And I told her I didn’t see any scars. And we’ll cover them up with your hair. Well, that helped her because she told somebody, ‘Loretta said she didn’t see any scars so I’m OK.’


Story continues below

Article content

You must have been in shock when Patsy was killed two years later?

It broke my heart.

How did you deal with it?

Very slow. You have to live with it. And you know you’re going to have to live with it so you make the best of it. My family helped because I was having one baby after the other so that helped me a lot. It really did. I loved my kids. I love my family. I love people you know, so that helps me a lot.

In the book, you write about being in her living room with her coffin and talking to her and hearing her back?

I said: ‘Oh, God it’s cold in here.’ And she said: ‘Turn up the damn heat!’

Did you always have this ability to speak with the dead?

Yes, I have. Not often, but every now and then. My mommy had it.

And it was your daughter who suggested you write the book?

Patsy (her daughter) says: ‘Well, mama, people are driving me crazy about Patsy. Why don’t you hear some questions that people have been asking me?’ And I said: ‘Well, let’s write ‘er down then.’ So we did.

Patsy was your mentor, but did it feel good for you both to open the doors for future female singers?

I’m hoping it helps them a lot because I didn’t have no help except what Patsy done. And at the time that I started it was a taboo thing kind of ‘cause this was a man’s world here. So I kind of waded right through and said: ‘To hell with you! I’ve come here to sing and I’m going to sing!’ And I wrote my own songs. They couldn’t keep me from singing them.

What young female country singers did you like now?

Miranda (Lambert) to me is one of the ‘countriest’ artists we have. And she needs to stick with real country. She went off country a little bit and I said: ‘Miranda get back to country music. Get back to that good ole heartbreaking stuff.’


Story continues below

Article content

Are you all healed from your 2017 stroke and the 2018 fall in which you fractured your hip?

I’m in great shape. I feel so good.

Do you see yourself performing again?

I won’t work as much as I did. You know I was working every night of the year. It was a little bit hard on me.

So retirement isn’t in the cards?

I don’t even think about that. I think it’s silly to think about retiring when you’re in good shape. Why retire?

How does 88 feel?

Doesn’t feel that way to me. It feels like yesterday. Time has meant nothing to me. And I could do more now than I could when I was 28. I know more. I feel great. And I’ve learned a lot about life since I was 28. And I’m glad that I’ve had these years to do that.

Latest National Stories


Story continues below

News Near Woodstock

This Week in Flyers