Reigning queen of Country and Western music Loretta Lynn graced our presence Sunday night at the Hard Rock Rocksino in a show that was anything but Rock.
In support of Ms. Lynn, 20-year old Rachel Horter opened the night with a 45-minute set. The red-tressed ingenue belted out Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.” A move like that, for such a young singer, takes guts. With aplomb, she nailed it. She then tackled Amy Winehouse and did it with the same gusto as her Wynette cover. Keep your eyes on this youngster.
The main event started out with her son and twin daughters, as well as a seven-piece backing band, warming us up with some older standards. After four tunes, Loretta Lynn, dressed in a bright red, sequin-adorned gown, was then helped to the stage by her daughter. The frail, 84-year old legend sat in an awaiting chair and, understandably, sang the show from a seated position.
While her vocals aren’t what they once were and her frame has shrunk considerably over the years, the Kentucky native shared a few anecdotes and ran through a set of tunes that she’d made popular since, well, before most of you were even born.
One of the first true Country and Western superstars, this lil’ lady became a grandmother for the first time fifty years ago. Astonishingly, here she is a full half-century after that and still making music. Her latest duet “Lay Me Down,”a haunting tune with Willie Nelson just dropped a few weeks ago.
Her band gave her a moment to rest while they sang “The House At The End Of The Road,” a somber recollection of growing up and away from your childhood roots. It was one of the highlights of the evening as the baritone voices harmoniously took us on a four-minute remembrance of our childhoods.
She closed with her signature tune, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Unlike many of today’s musicians, C&W or otherwise, who adorn the stage with their over-sized logos and band names (who, IMHO, want to make damn sure you know who they are because they may not be here in, oh, two years) Ms. Lynn’s whole approach is pretty darn subtle. We know who she is and, if we don’t, then perhaps she’s too humble to point that out. A couple of basic lighting cues and a sparse stage kept things very simple.
Yet, like Loretta Lynn, very elegant at the same time.