Garth Brooks is one of the many country artists scheduled to perform during Loretta Lynn's 87th birthday tribute concert in April, and he went one step further, too: When Lynn announced her birthday celebration at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Monday (Jan. 14), Brooks was on hand to help share her good news, and to express his admiration for the iconic country superstar.

"I love you. And it's just gotten better every time, every second," Brooks told Lynn during the press conference. "You know, I was 20 feet away from Katharine Hepburn, at Radio City Music Hall, when she said it, this beautiful thing she said. She said, 'If a woman has it, it doesn't matter what she doesn't have, and if she doesn't have it, it doesn't matter what else she does have.'

"I don't know if I've ever met someone who has it as much as Miss Loretta does," Brooks continues. "I think there's things you aspire to be, and because of that, things come around you. Miss Loretta was one of the first instances I actually got to witness firsthand where who she was was always who she was going to be, and it still attracted everything around her."

To illustrate his point, the country star went on to recall the evening in 2010, when he was Lynn's date as she was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

"...I asked her, 'If it's gonna be a date, you want a limousine or you want a truck?' She said, 'Truck.' Right there, I knew I was gonna be at home. I knew this was gonna be fun," Brooks remembers. "So I swung around to pick her up, and she was in the beautiful ballgown, and there was glitter everywhere. Which I loved.

"She walked right up to the driver's door. Oh, my gosh. This is right out of Oklahoma, where I grew up," Brooks continues. "I opened the door. She jumped in, scooted over and sat right in the middle. And I'm driving, going, 'This is Loretta Lynn, and I have her on my arm!' The whole trip there. We get out, I get out, and that truck still has so much glitter. You can clean it a hundred times. It's still got glitter in the seats, glitter on the floorboard. It's my favorite part."

"I had to glitter up!" Lynn laughs. "I had to be seen."

After sharing the memory of their evening out together, Brooks added his admiration for Lynn's historic achievements as an artist, and specifically as a woman in country music.

"She is a pioneer ... because a pioneer never stops being a pioneer, and that definitely defines this woman," he explains. "Especially in this day and time, where women notably have to work a thousand times harder to get a tenth as much as guys do. I'm married to one of those women [Trisha Yearwood]."

Lynn's 87th birthday all-star concert will take place on April 1 at Bridgestone Arena, and will feature artists such as Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Keith Urban and many others.

Loretta Lynn Through the Years

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