Van Lear Rose
If you’re a fan of Loretta Lynn, a 69-year-old icon of country music, whether you will love or hate her new album depends on how open-minded you are. Hard-core country purists, of course, will hate it because it bears the indelible stamp of Jack White, the White Stripes singer-guitarist who produced the record. But if you don’t mind the shock of hearing your hero, or heroine as it were, in a dramatic new context, this disc can be a revelation. Most riveting is the duet “Portland Oregon,” which opens with a minute and a half of guitar jamming before Lynn’s voice—which sounds terrific, by the way—comes in with a tale of liquored-up sin. On the other hand, the stark ballad “Miss Being Mrs.” is a heartbreaker. This is as good as anything from Johnny Cash’s American Recordings period. Welcome back.