Essential New Music: Loretta Lynn’s “Full Circle”

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Last time we heard from Loretta Lynn, the country music icon had teamed up with Jack White on Van Lear Rose. That album found her testing new terrain, even as she was more than four decades deep into her career. Ten years later, she’s followed up that collaboration with Full Circle. And like the title suggests, this is collection is more retrospective.

It opens with a re-recording of “Whispering Sea” and a monologue explaining how this was the first song the 83-year-old Lynn ever wrote. There’s also an updated version of “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven,” plus familiar standards like “I Never Will Marry,” “Always On My Mind” and “In The Pines.” Elsewhere, Lynn revisits her fightin’ side with a reworking of “Fist City.” But it’s less a rejiggering of one of her best-loved songs than a reminder of how defiant and groundbreaking Lynn was. She didn’t play nice and didn’t take kindly to notions of acting “ladylike,” and Full Circle is her victory lap.

—Matt Sullivan