Resplendent in a bright red cowgirl suit heavy with fringe, the bouffant-haired Loretta Lynn swept on to the stage like the Queen of Country Music that she is, unwilted by the heat and endearingly thankful to the crowd who gathered to hear her on the dusty, infield ground of the Fleur de Lis Stage. Lynn is a charmer who chats with the crowd between songs as if you were all gathered on her front porch for a glass of lemonade. Well into her 70s, she's still sharp as a tack, up to giving her band members a good ribbing, and playing to her fans.
She began the show with "They Don't Make 'em like my Daddy Anymore" and paid tribute to her Kentucky roots with "Blue Kentucky Girl", and of course, "Coal Miner's Daughter." I was frankly a little surprised at just how good she sounded, and it must be quite a feat of memory to recall all those lyrics -- even if she did write them herself -- that span such a long career. Leading into "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," she reminded us that it was the first song she ever wrote and her first single (it appeared in 1960). She can still summon up the feistiness for songs like "Fist City," "Don't Come Home a Drinkin'," and "You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man." Carrie Underwood might key your car, but Loretta makes you believe the revenge would be personal and bruising. Backing up Loretta was the Coal Miners band, her daughters, The Lynns ( Patsy and Peggy), and a trio of backup vocalists, providing big, old-school harmonies.
One of the last songs Lynn included was a song she wrote during the Johnson administration when the war in Vietnam was heating up, a sentimental plea called, "Dear Uncle Sam." It was a reminder that she never shied away from commenting on some of the tougher subjects of her times, and that unfortunately in this case, ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan make it as relevant today as it was in 1966.
Loretta: Fringe City
Loretta and part of her band