On Loretta Lynn’s 90th Birthday, Let’s Take a Tour of Van Lear and Her Old Kentucky Home [VIDEO]
I'm a bucket list kind of guy. I even made it a series on this website. I will never check everything off of it unless I stop adding to it. And that doesn't appear to be an option.
LORETTA LYNN'S OLD HOME IS ON MY BUCKET LIST
But it's not like some of the items on that list are impossible to do; I just have to DO them. And one of those "to do" items is visiting Loretta Lynn's old home in Butcher Holler, Kentucky. That's the legendary location, but the town's name is Van Lear.
My parents visited a long time ago, but I have yet to make the journey, even though I drove fairly close to it back in the late 1980s.
Until I was an adult, I had no idea that Butcher Holler wasn't a town--this despite the fact that I'd heard the icon's classic "Coal Miner's Daughter" a million times, and one of the lyrics in the song mentions the Van Lear coal mines.
LORETTA LYNN -- COUNTRY MUSIC AND POP CULTURE ICON
I've long admired Loretta Lynn and came very close to meeting her in the 1990s when I introduced her show at the Executive Inn. There were a lot of fan club members there and her time was valuable. And, of course, the film featuring that mindblowing Oscar-winning performance by Sissy Spacek will always be one of the best biopics ever made.
A TOUR OF LORETTA LYNN'S VAN LEAR HOME
So, on the legendary country star's 90th birthday, I'm joining you on a tour of her old home in eastern Kentucky.
THE REST OF VAN LEAR, KENTUCKY
If you decide to take that road trip and visit Loretta's old homeplace, don't miss out on what you'll find nearby. The Paintsville tourism website "paints" an awesome downhome portrait of that part of the world, and for good reason...that's what it is.
There's Webb's General Store which was owned by Loretta's brother Herman until he passed away in 2018.
You'll also very likely enjoy the US 23 Country Music Highway Museum which exists because of all the extraordinary superstar talent that has emerged from the region, in addition to Loretta. I'm talking about the likes of her sister Crystal Gayle, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless (Loretta's cousin), the Judds, Keith Whitley, and so many more.
The best part is that you will be in beautiful eastern Kentucky. Those mountains, those lakes. Absolutely unbeatable.
Happy birthday, Loretta Lynn. Thanks for nine awesome decades AND for a jumping-off point from which I could tout your beautiful hometown.