Kentucky Songwriters Share Loretta Lynn Tribute Song

When news broke earlier this weekend that country music icon and legend Loretta Lynn had died at the age of 90, I immediately thought of some of my favorite memories of Loretta Lynn – seeing her at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and my absolute favorite Loretta story ever. This one is classic.

Although I didn’t personally witness it, a very good radio friend did and it became a local legend. Loretta was playing a gig in the Showroom Lounge at the Executive Inn Rivermont in downtown Owensboro. “The Big E”, as it was called, is long gone, but the stories about the stars who performed there still live on. Stories like this.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Loretta was on stage and chewing gum. She realized she probably needed to get rid of it, so, Loretta-style, she put her hand in her mouth, pulled it out, and stuck it on the piano. The story, as it has been passed down to me and others, just gets better.

There was a dedicated Loretta fan sitting near the front of the stage and she started waving to get Loretta’s attention. When Loretta asked her what she wanted, the woman told her she wanted her gum. So Loretta, never one to drop a fan, took the gum, put it in a towel, and gave her the fan.

I love this story. And I loved Loretta Lynn – the courage, the songwriting and the way she inspired generations of female country artists who came after her.

It was this courage that inspired my friend DJ Potter and I to write a tribute to Loretta in 2010. I created the concept for the song, which we wrote for our friend Jaclyn Graves, who at the time also worked with me at WBKR. The concept was as follows. What if there was a song, sung by someone who found themselves essentially living the lyrics to virtually every hit song in Loretta’s library. What if she wondered WWLD- what would Loretta do?

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Here are the lyrics. As you’ll see, Loretta’s songs have inspired the lyrics, and some of her greatest hits are woven through history. We wanted our song to really be a tribute to the country music icon and I think we nailed it.

WHAT WILL LORETTA DO?

Written by Chad Benefield & DJ Potter – Copyright 2010

1ST VERSE

YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE COUNTRY

AND HER MAN HAS LOST SPIRIT

I CAN’T FEEL YOU ANYMORE

BECAUSE YOU CROSSED THE LINE

IT SEEMS YOU HAVE AN APPETITE

FOR WINE, WOMEN AND SONG

IF YOU THINK I MAKE IT UP WITH THIS

I guess you were wrong

WHEN I DRAW MY HAIR

‘Cause I’m tired of playing nice

I ASK A MINOR’S DAUGHTER

TO GIVE ME ADVICE

CHORUS

WWLD

WHAT WILL LORETTA DO

WHEN YOU COME HOME TO DRINK

MORE THAN ONCE OR TWICE

WHEN MY THOUGHTS ARE RATED X

AND I’M TIRED OF HERE WITH YOU

I TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND WONDER

WHAT WILL LORETTA DO

2n/a VERSE

THE FIRE IS ABOUT TO GO

THE TINGLE BECAME A CHILL

I’M SO CRAZY ABOUT YOU

I’M WAITING FOR THE PILL

MY FEELINGS ARE ALL CONFLICT

YOU MAKE ME SEE RED

DO I WANT TO GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD

OR BACK IN MY BED

WHEN I DRAW MY HAIR

AND FIST CITY’S SOUND BICE

I CONSULT THE MINOR’S DAUGHTER

WHEN THERE ARE PROBLEMS IN PARADISE

REPEAT THE CHORUS

BRIDGE

I ASK AND WONDER MYSELF

TIME AND AGAIN

WHAT WILL THIS WOMAN FROM LOUISIANA DO

WITH HER MAN FROM MISSISSIPPI

REPEAT THE CHORUS

Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Although Jaclyn often performed “What Would Loretta Do?” live with his band, we never really got the chance to record the song in the studio. All we have is a rough demo of it, but you’ll get the idea.

Listen and see what you think.

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