Loretta Lynn’s Lasting Legacy

Today’s women of country on why Lynn was a beacon for all

Photo: Getty Images

Loretta Lynn at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville circa 1965.

Loretta Lynn influenced countless country music artists, but in particular, she paved the way for women to speak their truth, throwing down empowering classics like “Fist City” and “The Pill.” Beyond her music, she was a mom, a confidante, and always championed female artists, including inviting them to play some of her legendary parties. Below, five contemporary female musicians weigh in on why their lives and art owe a big thanks to Lynn.

Tanya Tucker:

“Today, my world changed, and it will never be the same again. My hero got her wings, and it’s been a day filled with tears. Many memories, so much gratitude, and thanking my God above for blessing me first with her music and her guidance through the perils of the music world way before we ever met. I looked up to Loretta always. Then when we became friends, she brought me flowers always, and I brought flowers to her. Time has let me share many special moments with her, but now time has taken her from me forever! But she’s left me with so much to remember and cling on to. I thank God above that I got to sing with her on her latest record. I’ve been waiting a long time for that to come to pass. I was busy planning a much-needed trip to Mexico when I got the news, but for now, Mexico will have to wait because my childhood hero Loretta Lynn has caught the train and she’s ‘On Her Way to Heaven.’ Mexico will always be there, but my friend has gone on to glory. I will see her there someday! I miss you so Retti! I think you know how I feel! Your girl always.”

Margo Price:

“It’s safe to say I wouldn’t even be making country music today if it weren’t for Loretta Lynn. She showed me what it looked like to be a musician and a mama. Before anyone else even knew I was pregnant back in 2018, Loretta called me out of the blue and asked me to perform at her birthday party in Nashville. She casually mentioned if I ever had another baby, I could use Lynn as a middle name because it worked for a girl or a boy. She knew I had lost a child, and she did, too. I named my daughter Ramona Lynn after her. I had the opportunity to record one of my favorite songs with Loretta. We did a new version of ‘One’s On the Way’ in John Carter Cash’s studio. Her writing was as real as the day is long, and she didn’t take no shit. This one hurts on another level. I’ll miss her forever.” 

Brittney Spencer:

“Loretta Lynn is a gift the world will continue to treasure for many years to come. The stories in her lyrics were personal, real, and honest, and they mirrored those of the everyday people she wrote them for. I’ll never forget when I was told that she wanted me to sing at her benefit show at the Grand Ole Opry to support flood victims last year. It was an honor to witness the embodiment of generosity, talent, advocacy, and compassion in an artist like Loretta in my lifetime. That was special, and she was truly special and will be missed.”

Amanda Shires:

“I am forever grateful that Loretta Lynn was here for us to tell her stories, sing her songs, widen the path, and make us feel like we can do our art, be moms, and even have some fun when we want to, too.”

Kelsey Waldon:

“The influence Loretta Lynn has had on my life, songwriting, and music is seismic. It goes so deep, in every way. I honestly have only begun to process her passing, and the impact she has had on me and the world at this moment…so I find the words very hard to say. I am out on a long nine-week haul right now with my band, and all I can do is just think of her and the path that she paved for us all. Ahead of the curve, always. Forever relevant, but always grounded. As I’m a Kentucky girl myself, she gave me the courage to be proud of who I was and say how I felt. She helped me find my voice and guided me to find my unique self. I can only hope to do that for other people. However, I still saw so much of myself in her. I know so many others did, too. I am so grateful for Loretta Lynn. My heart goes out to her family at this time.”

Read more of G&G’s coverage of Loretta Lynn

A Look Back: Fifty Years of “Fist City”

Q&A: Our 2016 Conversation with Lynn