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Still Country by Loretta Lynn

Since making her chart debut 40 years ago, Loretta Lynn has racked up dozens of mega-hit singles and albums. And with the same winningly original style, she gloriously told the story of her life in the best-selling Coal Miner's Daughter, which was turned into a smash movie.

Now, Loretta's first solo album of new material in a dozen years demonstrates she hasn't lost her musical spark - or the feisty attitude that paved the way for today's generation of outspoken country beauties. Surprisingly, her voice has taken on a more folkish quality in this vibrant collection produced with passion and precision by Randy Scruggs.

Randy wrote the album's lead-off song, the sadly appropriate "On My Own Again," mirroring Loretta's life since the death of her husband, Mooney. She takes a journey back to her old Kentucky homeland in "God's Country," sort of a "Coal Miner's Daughter, Part II." Loretta has written some classics, but nothing approaches the devastating drama of "I Can't Hear The Music," a tribute to Mooney that's more cried than sung. Her voice chokes with emotional vibrato as she sings: Sometimes late at night I forget that he's not lying next to me/He may be out of sight, but out of mind is something he won't ever be.

The album ends with two hopeful numbers: "Somewhere Someone's Falling In Love" and "The Blues Ain't Workin' On Me." Both symbolize Loretta's gutsy, long-running battle to turn woes into wonders. As this true country legend has done so many times before, this record proves she can take a song and make it sparkle - once again transforming coal into diamonds.

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