LORETTA LYNN Van Lear Rose (Interscope)

In which Jack White does for country music what he and Meg did for the blues, in the process contributing to the most startling sexagenarian reinvention since Rick Rubin persuaded Johnny Cash to sing him some of his favourite songs. The respectful gentleman from Detroit here gives Lynn’s music an edgy, muscular undertow and a craggy, back-to-basics simplicity, a transfusion that leaves it electrically invigorated.

White (“You all have heard of him and little Meg, and if not you will soon!” gushes Loretta approvingly in the booklet) brings a crackling, ambient drone to “Portland Oregon”, pleasantly reminiscent of an “Elephant” outtake in sound if not in story: at times it’s almost as if Meg’s granny were deputising in The White Stripes, a confusingly cross-generational experience. “Trouble On The Line” balances the album’s more raucous, distorted moments with the more traditional sounds of weeping pedal steel and gently brushed percussion, and the bitter broken family tale of “Family Tree” is social commentary Opry style. “Have Mercy” is “The Sun Sessions” cranked up to 11, a cavernous thumper that suggests both Elv The Pelv and The Big O.

The almost literally arresting narrative “Little Red Shoes” shouldn’t distract from the glorious backing music – if Simon & Garfunkel had followed Dylan to Nashville… . “God Makes No Mistakes” might be the album’s least digestible offering, depending on the listener’s religious persuasion, but it’s starkly juxtaposed with the self-explanatory “Women’s Prison” (and, in the case of the latter, even within itself, a mumbled verse of ”Amazing Grace” briefly quieting the glorious ruckus of country garage (barn?) rock). The foggy bottleneck intro to “Mrs. Leroy Brown” is so pungent you can practically taste it, heralding a performance that’s equal parts Mary Chapin Carpenter and Janis Joplin.

Perhaps therein lies the real genius of “Van Lear Rose”. Simultaneously as old as the hills and more modern than next week, it’s a great album if you like country music, and it’s a great album if you don’t. It cannot fail.