“You’re Lookin’ At Country” may have topped out at fifth spot on the country charts, but the song, penned by Lynn herself, emerged as one of the significant tracks of her career. It was inspired by the relaxing views Loretta Lynn encountered on the road touring the United States. Arguably, it has evolved as a song of praise for artists who stay to carry the fire for traditional country music. The power struggle between traditional country sounds and more short-lived pop fancies is hardly a new one in the down-home genre. The song’s assertive ownership of its old-world lyrics,
I’m about as old fashioned as I can be,
And I hope you’re likin’ what you see.
is as applicable a statement today as it was in 1971.
The Inspiration, In Details
Lynn wrote “You’re Lookin’ At Country” in reaction to watching the open country while touring on the road. She was in awe of all the fields and hills that she saw while passing through the country to write this song. The song did not speak of the common subjects Lynn often used in her songs, such as drunk husbands, infidelity, and fighting back strong. Therefore, the song was distinct from anything Lynn had been releasing at the time, besides “Coal Miner’s Daughter” from the previous year. At first, she had to write “You’re Lookin’ At Country” as a love song or it would not sell. But, Lynn went out her comfort zone, got the idea looking at her hand, and still wrote about the wonders she saw.
Lynn described how “Country” she is by saying she loves running through cornfields and singing a country hymn. The latter stanza then sings,
If you’re lookin’ at me, you’re lookin’ at country….
That is the ultimate summary of the song. It grew quite a retort from listeners.
In the 1980 motion picture biography of Lynn, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, Sissy Spacek, who plays Loretta, sings “You’re Lookin’ At Country” twice in the film. Spacek sang Lynn’s hits herself. It earned her an Academy Award for doing so. In addition, Carrie Underwood covered the song as part of the Loretta Lynn tribute album, Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn. Lastly, Lynn performed the song at the 2014 Country Music Association Awards along with fellow country singer Kacey Musgraves.
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