Loretta Lynn and her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell wrote this as a tribute to Lynn's mother, Clara Webb. "Mommy was part Cherokee Indian," Lynn wrote in Honky Tonk Girl: My Life In Lyrics. "She was so pretty, with beautiful black hair that just curled and the loveliest skin. When I was little I wanted to look just like her, but I never could be as pretty as my mommy."
The lyrics recall Lynn listening to her father tell stories about how he met and fell in love with her mother, whom he called the "Van Lear Rose."
Van Lear is the Kentucky coal-mining community where Lynn's childhood home in Butcher Hollow (or Butcher Holler) was located.
The album, produced by Jack White of the White Stripes, debuted at #2 on the country chart and peaked at #25 on the pop chart. It won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Country Album.