S.G. Goodman On Loretta Lynn’s Lasting Impact As a Kentuckian + a Woman in Music
Loretta Lynn left an immeasurable impact on every corner of the music industry she touched. From her pioneering work as a songwriter who wrote about the stigmatization of divorced women and the importance of access to birth control, to her status as one of the leading figures of Kentucky's impressive and longstanding musical output, Lynn's career left an imprint on virtually every artist in the country format today -- including fellow Kentuckian, rising singer-songwriter S.G, Goodman.
In the wake of Lynn's death on Tuesday (Oct. 4) at age 90, Goodman told The Boot that, as the daughter of a Kentuckian sharecropper, she grew up relating closely to the story Lynn tells in one of her signature songs, "Coal Miner's Daughter."
"My dad's not a small vegetable farmer -- he's an industrial farmer, and that industry, rightly so, has a lot of negative aspects with the company's involvement, and a lot of misunderstanding about the industry and the workers themselves, and what they're strapped to," Goodman notes.
"So I just really appreciated her coming from an industry of workers that are misunderstood by the outside world, but also has some accurate negative pushback, too. But the fact that that's still her daddy, it's who she comes from, it's what puts food on her table. There's a lot of honor you gotta give to that kind of thing," the singer goes on to say.
In her own music, Goodman is known for speaking to important social issues that impact the South, including the plight of the rural working class and the opioid epidemic that ravages its people. Lynn's songwriting about issues like reproductive rights -- even when her songs got banned radio airplay for being controversial -- inspires her to continue writing about important, albeit polarizing, topics.
"One of her songs was blacklisted, 'The Pill,'" Goodman reflects. "It's just a strange moment in time for her to have passed, what with what's going on with abortion rights across the country...For a woman to admit that she likes sex or wanted to have it more, was such a trailblazing moment."
Lynn and Goodman have one more thing in common: They're both proud Kentuckians, part of a large and impactful list of people from that state putting out groundbreaking music.
"Kentucky's been one of the leading places for great music to come out of, and that goes for women, too," Goodman notes. "As much as there is to mourn, there's so much to be thankful for what Loretta Lynn did for music and women as a whole. It's really overwhelming to think about."