‘Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust': What We Learned From Loretta Lynn’s New Book
Country legend Loretta Lynn opens up about her close friendship with fellow icon Patsy Cline in a brand-new book. Me & Patsy Kickin' Up Dust, out Tuesday (April 7) via Grand Central Publishing, gives readers new insight into the singers' incredible bond.
Although their friendship lasted only a couple of years -- the two met in the spring of 1961, about two years before Cline died in a plane crash on March 5, 1963 -- the impact it made on Lynn has lasted a lifetime. In a recent interview, Lynn spoke with The Boot about her new book, her relationship with Cline and the connection that's lasted for decades after Cline's untimely death.
Keep reading to learn five surprising and notable facts Lynn's new book unveils about her friendship with Cline.
Loretta Lynn + Patsy Cline's Bond Was Immediate
Before she and Cline became friends, Lynn was a huge fan of Cline and her music. When Lynn heard the news that Cline had been seriously injured in a car accident just outside of Nashville, she knew she had to send a message to her fellow artist through song.
"I heard that she had this wreck with her brother, but I hadn't met her yet," Lynn explains. Lynn was set to perform live on air from Nashville's Ernest Tubb Record Shop that day and quickly decided she would use the opportunity to perform a tribute to one of her favorite artists: "I went and got on the radio and said, 'I want to sing this song for Patsy Cline. She's had a wreck and she's in the hospital.'"
Lynn's song choice was Cline's hit "I Fall to Pieces," a selection that makes Lynn chuckle now. "What a hell of a song to sing to someone who's been tore all to pieces, you know?" Lynn reflects with a laugh.
However, Cline heard Lynn perform on the radio from her hospital bed that night. "She sent her husband to get me, to come meet her, and that's how our friendship started. It just started great from the beginning," Lynn explains. "It just started great from the beginning."
The two quickly formed a bond that was much like that of two sisters: When they weren't out on the road performing music to adoring fans, the pair would even find themselves playfully roughhousing with each other when visiting each other's homes.
"Me and Patsy would be sitting on the couch and we'd be telling each other stories that we knew we were lies," Lynn reminisces with a chuckle. "We'd get to wrastling and fall out on the floor."
Loretta Lynn Wants to Re-record Patsy Cline's Songs
In Me & Patsy Kickin' Up Dust, Lynn talks about the emotional experience she had recording I Remember Patsy, her 1977 cover album of Cline's biggest hits. Although the record was incredibly successful, the country star wishes she could do it all over again.
"When I did that album, I was a nervous wreck," Lynn explains. She brought in producer Owen Bradley and vocal group the Jordanaires, who famously worked with Cline on her records, to record the tribute.
Over 40 years later, Lynn says she's ready to try and tackle the project again: "I should do another one because I was so nervous that I wasn't singing good," she says. "I could do better."
Lynn recently released a new recording of "I Fall to Pieces." In addition to being the song that launched Lynn and Cline's friendship, the track was Cline's first No. 1 hit.
Loretta Lynn Thinks Patsy Would Have Been a Brandi Carlile Fan
At the end of Me & Patsy Kickin' Up Dust, Lynn reflects on the all-star concert celebration held for her 87th birthday in 2019. The show included the debut performance from the Highwomen and a cover of Cline's 1962 single "She's Got You" by Brandi Carlile, and Lynn tells The Boot that seeing Carlile put her own spin on that song was one of the most powerful moments of the night.
"That's my very favorite song of Patsy's," Lynn says. "[Brandi] did such a good job, I'm sure Patsy would have liked it.
"I'm sure she was listening," Lynn adds.
Loretta Lynn Still Sees Patsy Cline
Lynn says she's seen visions of her friend at multiple times in her life.
"The first time I worked in Vegas, I thought, 'Oh, Lord, have mercy, I'll never make it.' I was so nervous," Lynn shares. "At that age, I started to get hot flashes too, and I thought, 'I'm going to die, I'll never make it onstage.'
"I just put my guitar strap around my neck and thought, 'I just have to try.' I closed my eyes, opened my eyes, and Patsy was sitting right above, about six feet up, in her little stretchy pants and white blouse, looking down at mem smiling," she continues. "Then, I went right through the show and never made a boo-boo."
At times, Lynn also finds herself speaking to Cline as though she's still sitting right beside her. "I talk to her a lot. I catch myself when I'm in the bus [with my band], I have to be careful so they don't think I'm crazy," Lynn says with a laugh.
"If she was alive today, God only knows what the girl would be doing," she adds. "I kind of believe in reincarnation ... I think she might pass this way again."
Loretta Lynn + Patsy Cline Always Had Each Other's Backs
Cline was one of the first women in country music to do things her way without apologies. As Lynn began to find her place within the country music world, Cline was there to help support Lynn through anything that came her way -- including run-ins with powerful men within the industry who behaved inappropriately toward her.
In a chapter called "Dirty Old Men," Lynn describes an incident during which she was pinched on the buttocks by bluegrass legend Bill Monroe and another time when she was slapped on the buttocks by Faron Young. Lynn says that dealing with those moments was easier because she had someone on her side through it all.
"It was like having a big sister to try and help you with stuff like that when you didn't know much about what was going on," Lynn notes. "[Because] someone always had your back, you didn't think much about all the rest of the steps. You had your girlfriend, so you were happy."
In the book, Lynn says she hopes women in the music industry today support each other the way Cline did her. She tells The Boot she would advise those women "to work just as hard as they can work because ain't nobody gonna hand it to you, honey."
"I found that out. Nothing was given to me. I had to work for everything I got," Lynn adds. "Don't wait on nobody else. Just do your job and you'll make it."
LOOK: Loretta Lynn Through the Years