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Looking back at Loretta Lynn's 2009 News Tribune interview

The country singer spoke to the News Tribune about her life, and the autobiographical nature of her career.

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Loretta Lynn at the 2016 CMA Country Christmas held at the Grand Ole Opry House.
Laura Farr / TNS
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Country singer Loretta Lynn died in Hurricane Mills, Tenneseee, on Tuesday from what her family described as natural causes. She was 90.

It is impossible to mention country music icon Loretta Lynn without referring to "The Coal Miner's Daughter," the book she wrote, the movie starring Sissy Spacek, the song about Lynn's life — growing up one of eight children, in poverty, in a small Kentucky town.

And it's a reference Lynn is content to hold on to:

"It was my life," Lynn said in a phone interview with the News Tribune ahead of her July 19, 2009, performance at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Auditorium. "It will always be there. I know what it's like to have nothing and what it's like to have anything I want. But I don't want anything. Really, I'm not that much to put up with. I'm just a plain, old person. I don't want anything too fancy."

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She recently spent some time talking with the News Tribune about her life and the autobiographical nature of her career. Here we present excerpts from that interview.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM HER SHOW

I just let the people choose it. They want me to sing a song, they'll holler it out for me. I let them choose what they want to hear. ... "Coal Miner's Daughter," "You Ain't Woman Enough," "Don't Come Home A Drinkin.' "

"Coal Miner's Daughter" would be my favorite, it has to be. It was about daddy and it was real ... true. I guess that would be my favorite.

ON THE COLLABORATIONS SHE HAS DONE

The favorite new one I've worked with would be Jack [White]. I used to work a lot with Conway [Twitty], and I loved to work with him. Me and Merle Haggard are going to record together. We're getting our stuff ready now. And me and my sisters, Crystal Gayle and Peggy Sue, we're fixing to record. She's a pop singer, you know. I told her she's going to learn country now, and I'm going to have to learn pop. We're going to record.

I've got a lot of irons in the fire right now. I don't think they ever stop. It gets worse all the time. People say: "You gonna stop?" I say "No. No use in stopping, keep going." You're lucky if you stay in the business right now. People get one hit and they're out. I'm a really, really lucky person.

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Everything comes with work. You have to work at it. You got to know what you're doing and you got to work hard. You can't put a record out and just say, 'I'm a star,' and that's it. 'Cuz that ain't gonna make it.

ON THE CURRENT COUNTRY MUSIC SCENE

Well, I think it's great. It's changed a lot. Everything changes, nothing stays the same. ... The music has probably gotten better. It's more modern. Things keep getting modern. I like that. I think it's more up-to-date than it used to be. I listen to the new stuff, because that's all they play today is mostly the new stuff. If you want to hear anything else, you have to play it yourself.

I like Carrie Underwood, for a female singer. She's a great singer. And some of the guys I like ... I like most of them. What's that guy's name that sings "Don't Go Lovin' On Nobody But Me"? There's a bunch of guys I like.

ON WHAT A NORMAL DAY IS LIKE

Well, a normal day for me, if I'm at home, is watching television or maybe writing on a song with a friend and just hanging out. Just like anybody else's day. I've been in the studio recording. I've recorded 40-some songs and I'm still recording. I'm doing religious albums and just plain albums, and I'm doing a Christmas album. It's hard to sing about Christmas in the middle of June, that's the only thing.

ON WHAT SHE IS WRITING THESE DAYS

Anything I write is from the heart. Either I've lived it, or someone around me is living it. I'm recording so many things right now. I've got so many things going on. The songs we're doing now are just religious songs. Some are really great. "You Don't Have a Prayer if You Don't Pray," "Thank God for Jesus." Just a lot of great songs I started 10 years ago and didn't finish. There's about six I've done that with. I never finished.

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