Loretta Lynn has long been considered one of country music’s most empowering women, speaking her mind when others remained silent and performing songs others were too timid to tackle. So it’s not surprising that “Everything It Takes,” which she debuted on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Thursday, is one of many standout cuts on Lynn’s just-released Full Circle LP that takes aim at a woman who’s trying to steal her man.
Penned with Todd Snider and performed on the album with Elvis Costello, Lynn says that when she came up with the hook line — “She’s got everything it takes and she’ll take everything you’ve got” — she just thought it had the makings of good song. With each clever turn of phrase (e.g. “She turned you on and then you turned on me,” “She’s got nothin’ left and that’s a lot”) Lynn stands her ground as “more of a woman than she’ll ever be,” with an unmistakably devilish twinkle in her eye. It’s vintage country music, complete with crying steel, rolling piano fills and the elegance of an ageless, timeless icon. While she didn’t write this particular song with the man who shares its vocals with her on record, her experience of collaborating with Costello proved that two different approaches to the same goal could yield successful results.
“Elvis and I met each other about four or five years ago, and we sat down in the studio to write a song,” the 83-year-old tells Rolling Stone. “I had a piece of paper and a pencil, and he had a computer. So we looked at one another like, ‘Hmm, what’s going to come out of this?; He was laughing about it, but I didn’t think it was funny because that’s the way I write all my songs. Not on a computer. I don’t know how to turn one on, let alone write on one, and I don’t care if I do or not. When I write a song, I don’t want to be on a computer, I like to be alone. But it ended up working good.”
With Full Circle, her first album of new material since 2004’s Grammy-winning Jack White collaboration Van Lear Rose, Lynn entrusted the production to John Carter Cash and her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell. The 14-track LP just scratches the surface of the 90 songs they recorded at the Cash Cabin in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Coinciding with the album’s release is tonight’s premiere of American Masters’ Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl on PBS.