The idea that Loretta Lynn needs Jack White for a hit of precious niche-market "authenticity" would be offensive if it weren't absurd. Note to myopic indie rockers: Lynn is old as fuck! However, White Stripe White is better than storied country vet Lynn at something way more valuable than authenticity: rocking hard. So Van Lear Rose, Lynn's gazillionth album, which she let White produce and arrange after they played a New York show together last April, is a vinegary blast of backwoods country-rock over which Lynn presides like a defamed state-fair queen with dead flowers in her hair. She and White duet on "Portland, Oregon," a sloppy drunk-love reminiscence; if their chemistry isn't as set as Lynn and Conway Twitty's, the tune throws off electric May/December sparks. In "Family Tree," Lynn shows up at her husband's lover's house to show their kids "the woman that's burning down our family tree," but does it so tenderly she pre-empts any white-trash laughs you might expect. And in "Have Mercy," as White spits up sickly Jimmy Page squeal, Lynn atones for a lifetime of doing wrong to do right. Fall in love with the girl again.
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