Monday, May 28, 2001

Loretta Lynn opens museum

By Jim Patterson
The Associated Press

        HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. — More than 1,000 of Loretta Lynn's friends, relatives and fans celebrated the grand opening Saturday of a museum chronicling her life as a “Coal Miner's Daughter” and country music legend.

        Naomi Judd, George Jones and Ms. Lynn's sister Crystal Gayle were among those at the site of the new Coal Miner's Daughter Museum at Ms. Lynn's home west of Nashville. The mu seum replaces an earlier one that had been on the property for years.

        Ms. Judd called Ms. Lynn, 66, a “hillbilly feminist” for such songs as “Don't Come Home A'Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind),” and “You Ain't Woman Enough.”

        The museum includes items like Ms. Lynn's first bedroom furniture, bought for $200 from a musician in Hank Williams Sr.'s band. The furniture once belonged to Mr. Williams .

        “I paid him back $10 a month, 'cause we didn't have any money,” Ms. Lynn said.

        Ms. Lynn's rise in country mu sic was chronicled in the 1980 film Coal Miner's Daughter, starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones.

        The native of Butcher Holler, Ky., was born the daughter of a coal miner in a one-room log cabin. She married at age 13, and had her first child the next year.

        Encouraged by her late husband, Mooney Lynn, she began singing in clubs in Washington , and signed a recording contract in 1960.

        Ms. Lynn scored her first hit “Honky Tonk Girl” by driving coast to coast with her husband visiting radio stations to promote it. As she gained confidence, Ms. Lynn began writing and perform ing more personal songs about her life.

        The museum includes an old touring bus nicknamed The Coal Miner, and cars driven by Ms. Lynn and her husband. Ms. Lynn said she wrote “Fist City,” a song that threatens a woman who shows too much interest in her husband, in one of the Cadillacs on display.

        The museum also includes items from some of Ms. Lynn's friends: an old stage backdrop and shirt donated by Garth Brooks, and stage outfits from Tanya Tucker, Lorrie Morgan, and Neal McCoy, among others.


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