LORETTA LYNN PLAYS TASTE LIKE A FAMILY REUNION

By Chrissie Dickinson – Chicago Tribune


As our true American music legends grow fewer and fewer, the surviving road warriors among them become more precious with each passing year. Enter Loretta Lynn, by any standard a monumental artist.
At 76, this titan of country music still astonishes. That fact was on full display as Lynn took the Petrillo stage during the Taste of Chicago on Friday. Decked out in a sequined, lavender evening gown, she glittered like the downhome queen she has always been.
She launched into a 45 minute set that was heavy on the hard country hits that made her name. Backed by a nine-piece band, she gripped her microphone and engaged the crowd like she was playing a family reunion.
There was no disputing her honky-tonk manifesto “You’re Lookin’ at Country.” The near-capacity crowd clapped along and hollered for this authentic woman who couldn’t put on airs if she tried.
Lynn has always been a compelling mix of sass, candor, iron spine and raw vulnerability. All of that was in play for this Chicago stop. Her trademark Kentucky twang cut like Ajax through a stain on the weepy, waltz-time ballad “When the Tingle Becomes a Chill.” Butcher Holler’s most famous daughter referenced her roots on “Blue Kentucky Girl.”
Lynn’s unvarnished humor and distaff brass permeated such sprightly smackdowns as “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “Fist City.” Likewise, her once-controversial tribute to the liberating power of birth control, “The Pill,” rang through the air like a salvo from the mountaintop. The classic hits tumbled forth, one after the next, but it never felt rote.
There has never been any guile in Loretta Lynn, which accounts for her ability to emotionally gut one like a fish. “They’ll probably keep playin’ this as long as there’s fightin’ goin’ on,” she said, by way of introducing “Dear Uncle Sam.” The story of a soldier’s wife, Lynn wrote it during the Vietnam war, but her raw recitation at the song’s close was a fresh reminder of the high personal cost of America’s current wars.
She closed with “Coal MIner’s Daughter,” a song that brought the audience to its feet as if it were the national anthem. It is, of course, the story of her early life, a song about taking pride in hardscrabble roots, the love of home and family, the resolve to press on in the face of hard times. These are qualities politicians give lip service to every day, but traits that Loretta Lynn continues to live in real time.

As our true American music legends grow fewer and fewer, the surviving road warriors among them become more precious with each passing year. Enter Loretta Lynn, by any standard a monumental artist.

At 76, this titan of country music still astonishes. That fact was on full display as Lynn took the Petrillo stage during the Taste of Chicago on Friday. Decked out in a sequined, lavender evening gown, she glittered like the downhome queen she has always been.

She launched into a 45 minute set that was heavy on the hard country hits that made her name. Backed by a nine-piece band, she gripped her microphone and engaged the crowd like she was playing a family reunion.
There was no disputing her honky-tonk manifesto “You’re Lookin’ at Country.” The near-capacity crowd clapped along and hollered for this authentic woman who couldn’t put on airs if she tried.

Lynn has always been a compelling mix of sass, candor, iron spine and raw vulnerability. All of that was in play for this Chicago stop. Her trademark Kentucky twang cut like Ajax through a stain on the weepy, waltz-time ballad “When the Tingle Becomes a Chill.” Butcher Holler’s most famous daughter referenced her roots on “Blue Kentucky Girl.”

Lynn’s unvarnished humor and distaff brass permeated such sprightly smackdowns as “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “Fist City.” Likewise, her once-controversial tribute to the liberating power of birth control, “The Pill,” rang through the air like a salvo from the mountaintop. The classic hits tumbled forth, one after the next, but it never felt rote.

There has never been any guile in Loretta Lynn, which accounts for her ability to emotionally gut one like a fish. “They’ll probably keep playin’ this as long as there’s fightin’ goin’ on,” she said, by way of introducing “Dear Uncle Sam.” The story of a soldier’s wife, Lynn wrote it during the Vietnam war, but her raw recitation at the song’s close was a fresh reminder of the high personal cost of America’s current wars.

She closed with “Coal MIner’s Daughter,” a song that brought the audience to its feet as if it were the national anthem. It is, of course, the story of her early life, a song about taking pride in hardscrabble roots, the love of home and family, the resolve to press on in the face of hard times. These are qualities politicians give lip service to every day, but traits that Loretta Lynn continues to live in real time.