GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The West Michigan man who led Loretta Lynn’s band remembered her as humble and down-to-earth. Lynn, a country music icon, died Tuesday in Tennessee at the age of 90.

Bob Vogel, who is from Grand Rapids and now lives in Tennessee, credits Lynn for launching his career.

“It’s still hard knowing that she’s gone. It’s tough,” Vogel said.

The Grand Rapids native spent 26 years playing guitar and leading Lorreta Lynn’s band. Those years of performing and touring with Lorretta Lynn is something Vogel will always hold close to his heart.

“She was like a fine piece of furniture that still had a little bark on it. You didn’t have to take your shoes off around Loretta Lynn, you know, she was absolutely totally down to earth,” Vogel said. 

Vogel saw Lynn at the end of August, visiting after the death of Lynn’s longtime housekeeper. 

“Boy we had the loveliest time. We spent about an hour. We laughed, cried, did it all. Went all down memory lane. It was nothing but fun. I’m so glad I got a chance to do that,” Vogel said.

The guitarist had moved to Tennessee after getting a music degree from Western Michigan University.

“I eventually got an audition with her and she hired me at the audition,” Vogel said.       

He credits Lynn for giving him his big break after he spent six years trying to make a name for himself in Nashville.

Vogel first met her manager in the mid-90s who said she needed a banjo player.      

“I can play the banjo and he didn’t believe me at first. He called some studios and found out well, yeah, I could play the five-string banjo,” Vogel said.      

The 1980 movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter” staring Sissy Spacek brought recognition for Lynn even outside the world of country music. 

“They’re really super friends. You know, people don’t realize Sissy Spacek lived with Loretta Lynn for a year on the road in that bus. Now there’s not a lot of room on a tour bus and that’s how much work she put into that role,” Vogel said.      

Most of all, Vogel will miss having such a close friend with such a generous heart.      

“Knowing that I could call that lady at any time of day and she’d come to the window for me. Her smile, her laugh,” Vogel said. “Nobody was too low for her. She was just as real as anything ever, I’ve never met anybody like that. Everybody is gonna miss her a lot.”

Vogel says funeral arrangements have not been finalized at this point.