I was saddened this week by the passing of Loretta Lynn. I grew up in the ’80s listening to classic country music on the radio. CMT had also just become a thing and was made available to us once we had satellite television installed, so watching country music videos was a good way to pass the time when nothing else was on. It was during this time that I also fell in love with a lesser-known country queen named K.T. Oslin.
K.T. got her start in New York on Broadway singing in “Hello Dolly!” with Carol Channing. She was 45 years old in 1986 when she found herself in Nashville and landed a record deal. Her ballads about love, heartbreak, age, and the struggles of relationships made her an overnight success.
Her songs had the best lyrics and even a touch of humor. I have no idea why I connected with her music in such a strong way, but I did. When I requested her Greatest Hits album on cassette for Christmas in 1993, my mom wondered why I would want an album called, “Songs from an Aging Sex Bomb.”
Here’s the music video for her song, “Come Next Monday,” which displays some of the humor her songs were known for:
To this day, her songs drum up memories of how her music made me feel back then. It’s a nice memory, which is why it hurt so much when I discovered this week that she’d also passed away. She’d been living in an assisted living facility in Nashville since 2016 and struggling with Parkinson’s disease. She passed in December 2020 after contracting Covid-19.
She’d quit touring and making music years before that, but every once in a while, I’d think about her and look her up on the internet to see if I could learn anything new about her. I’d play that greatest hits album and remember a simpler time. My world, past and present, was a good place simply because she was in it. Learning that she was gone changed a tiny bit of all of that.
Here’s a an interview with K.T. from 2019 discussing her career and induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. You can see the effects of Parkinson’s on her just a bit.