“Garage-rock hero Jack White producing honky-tonk legend Loretta Lynn? And Lynn comparing him to renowned Nashville producer Owen Bradley? Yes, we all know the world is rapidly shrinking, but now we’ve seen everything. Most stunning of all – they nailed it” (Greilsamer). “The album was released to glowing reviews and near universal acclaim. It received a rating of 97 at MetaCritic.com, tied for the highest score to date. Blender magazine called the album ‘Some of the most gripping singing you’re going to hear all year.... A brave, unrepeatable record that speaks to her whole life’” (Wikipedia). The album won the Grammy for Best Country Album and with a #24 peak on Billboard’s album chart, it is “the most successful crossover music album of Lynn's 45-year career” (Wikipedia).
“At 70, Lynn seems thoroughly engaged and delighted; at times she delivers some of the most emotionally potent singing of her career” (Greilsamer). “For the first time, Lynn has written all of an album’s songs, and her lyrics are as cutting and incisive as ever” (Greilsamer). “The title refers to Lynn’s origins as the daughter of a miner working the Van Lear coal mines” (Wikipedia). It isn’t just the homage to her own “Coal Miner’s Daughter” that gives the album a classic country feel; Lynn “cunningly tackles tried-and-true honky-tonk themes of love gone bad, drinkin’, cheatin’, and murder” (Greilsamer). “On the powerful, biting Family Tree, she brings her babies to the home of her husband’s mistress so that they can see the ‘woman that’s burning down our family tree’” (Greilsamer). She also offers “a compelling slice of theological fatalism (God Makes No Mistakes)” (Greilsamer).
“White’s production – mostly stark and atmospheric – ranges from more-traditional country to straight-up White Stripes, with most tracks falling somewhere in between. White duets with Lynn on the rousing one-night-stand story Portland, Oregon” (Greilsamer), which won a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, “but he does not need to sing to leave his personal stamp” (Greilsamer); he “performs on the whole album as a musician” (Wikipedia). “A decade earlier, Johnny Cash turned to rock and rap producer Rick Rubin, and the move resuscitated Cash’s career. Now, Jack White has done the same for Loretta Lynn, another country legend whose music is simply too raw and honest for the contemporary country crowd. Van Lear Rose exceeds all expectations – a bold collaboration in which artists from two different musical universes forge a memorable work that neither could have created alone” (Greilsamer).