...but today she's a living legend of country music!
more than 40 years, Loretta Lynn has fashioned a body of work as
culturally significant as any female performer. Her music has
confronted the major social issues of her time, and her life story is a
rags-to-riches tale familiar to pop, rock and country fans alike. The
Coal Miner’s Daughter has journeyed from the poverty of the Kentucky
hills to Nashville superstardom to her current status as an American icon.
The scheduled performers are crooning not only about the concept, but also about the other performers scheduled to take the stage.
"It's always great to share the stage with an icon like Loretta Lynn, especially on an evening that celebrates women of country music,” said MCA recording artist Lee Ann Womack.
The Grand Ole Opry Live telecast will also include performances from Danielle Peck, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith, offering viewers a full range of styles, themes and eras.
“GAC recognizes the importance of providing programming that reaches our audiences that span different age groups and demographics,” said Sarah Trahern, GAC senior vice president of programming. “The Opry programming is successful because it extends beyond the traditional country genres and generations to attract various country music fans.”
Fans who miss the live performance can watch the re-air on Sunday, March 19 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. GAC is the exclusive television home of the Grand Ole Opry. Check local cable and satellite listings for channel information.
Brad Paisley's chart-topping "Alcohol" is brilliant.
Got that? Brilliant .
For starters, it's a ramble sung in first person, from the alcohol's point of view. It's funny, like you are when you're drunk, and pathetic, like you are the next morning.
It sheds light on the mysteries of life -- like why white people try to dance, how Hemingway finished books, and why anyone would wear a lamp shade for a hat.
But as great as the song is, it's hardly tackling a new topic. In fact, you could make a great mix disc of boozy country, rockabilly and alternative country songs.
Start with Paisley's gem, then add these:
• "Portland, Oregon" by Loretta Lynn with Jack White. I've never had sloe-gin fizz, but it's got to be mighty stuff to make the coupling of Lynn and White (as imagined in the song) seem like a good idea.
• "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" by George Thorogood. The title says it all.
• "Liquor Store" by Dash Rip Rock. This edges out the band's other suitable tracks ("All Liquored Up" and "Big Daddy Like Whiskey") because it's more, umm, romantic: "I want to be locked inside a liquor store with you."
• "Whiskey River" by Willie Nelson. "Beer for My Horses," is great, but this one is epic.
• "Nightclub" by Old 97's. Because who hasn't thought, "This old nightclub stole my youth. This old nightclub stole my true love... . I just might get drunk tonight and burn the nightclub down"?
• "Drinkin' in My Sunday Dress" by Maria McKee. She's eatin' crackers with her gin and drinkin' in her Sunday dress. So why haven't you called her yet, chump?
• "Euromad" by T Bone Burnett. Burnett's known as a producer extraordinaire, but his records are dripping with delicious cynicism. This song's an indictment of America, disguised as an indictment of Europe -- I think. But the most precious couplet is, "Were it not for Mr. Gordon and his fine distillery, I might have never made it through this euro-misery."
• "10 rounds with Jose Cuervo" by Tracy Byrd. It's funny, OK?
• "Rollin'," Randy Newman. Though I've never been a big Newman buff, his cure for the blues -- namely whiskey -- is spot-on.
• "Why Henry Drinks" by Drive-by Truckers. Kiss-offs don't come much stronger than "hanging with you I know why Henry drinks."
"Your Man" (Capitol)
Two years ago, baritone-voiced Josh Turner created a stir by selling a million copies of his "Long Black Train" debut on the strength of a title song with an explicit Christian message unusual even for country music.
He's taken a while to follow-up, but the title cut of "Your Man" is Turner's second country Top 10 hit, and it, too, breaks precedent by presenting a classy come-on that directly addresses sex between a married couple - another unusual topic for the country charts.Turner's strength is avoiding the lyrical and musical clichés that sometimes gives commercial country music a cookie-cutter sameness. Turner proves you can make a stand by taking chances, as he does throughout "Your Man," especially on the hilarious celebrity-hound sendup, "Loretta Lynn's Lincoln," and the affirmation of faith on "Me and God" (the latter a duet with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley).
|John W. Turner|
PAINTSVILLE- Dr. John W.
Turner,Doc Turner as called by Country Singer Loretta Lynn 91,
died Fri., Feb. 3, 2006. Lynn brought Turner to light in 1976 book Coal
Miner's Daughter and again 1980 Movie of the same name and again in her
latest book Still Women Enough. Service, 11 am Mon., Jones-Preston
Funeral Chapel. Visit, 9 am Sun. |
This as yet untitled album features Jack White of White Stripes and Detroit songwriter Brendan Benson. Hyped in London as “Detroit’s answer to [Nirvana’s] Nevermind,” the album is one on which both White and Benson write, sing and play guitar. If Jack White’s 2004 collaboration with Loretta Lynn is any indication, The Raconteurs will take the best qualities of both White and Benson’s solo records and weave them into a beautiful musical tapestry.
I got to the shooting sites in Kentucky and Virginia because a boyhood chum, Thom Mount of Durham, was at the time one of the people running Universal Studios, and the movie was one of his babies. (Mount has since been an independent producer, with "Bull Durham" one of his notable films.)
I was a kid reporter at another newspaper then, and to be sure, the presence of various movie stars was what hit me at the time. Talking to Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones (a bigger star later, who then was playing Loretta's husband), being around the curious and dramatic Hollywood types, hanging out a bit with the famed musician Levon Helm of The Band, who had landed a part as Ted Webb, Loretta's father. The film people had recreated most everything, including the cabin in Butcher Holler, Ky., where the Webb children had been raised.
One thing they didn't need to recreate was coal mines, which were and presumably still are big in that isolated part of the country. One day before shooting, I rode with the producer to visit a woman he said owned one of the mines, or the land where it was, anyway. She lived in a big house on top of a hill. Way down below, the miners lived in smaller houses along a creek. It seemed to be an existence that hadn't changed a lot in decades. I don't remember much about the nearby mine. Except that, to the average person, it would seem a scary place indeed. A dark, dirty hole.
These memories came sadly back last week, with the deaths of 12 miners at the Sago mine in West Virginia. Reports said mining pays much better now. It has to, for it is a dangerous job under the best of circumstances, one that strains every muscle, that poisons the lungs, that just wears people out. If you've ever seen stories or some of those television specials on coal mine disasters, you know there have been plenty of them. And every day when miners go to work, they know that no matter how much "technology" may have improved, no matter how much better safety may be today than it used to be, there's a chance that their wives and their children will be among the families who will suffer that terrifying wait, for some a death watch, that thousands of others have experienced. The tragedy of Sago was all the worse because of that suffering.
These families in Sago seemed to have lived as so many generations of miners' families lived -- close together, in a tight communities where an occupation is shared among many, and along with it an ever-present fear. Think about that. Certainly law enforcement officers' families live with that same concern. Firefighters. Perhaps that's one thing that draws those families toward each other as well.
But miners die not at the hand of assailants, but by nature. By the twist of fate that brings a collapse of a wall deep underground, or an explosion. They know it could happen, yet it's not unusual to find third- or fourth-generation miners. They grew up in the life. They know the risk. They chose it anyway. (The same can be said of those law officers and firefighters.)
The lucky ones never see an explosion, but they suffer health problems from breathing coal dust, even with some of the better gear that now exists. And the stress is ever-present. The late Merle Travis, who gained fame as a guitar player and singer, must have known the life at some point, for he summed it up best in a song that all miners understand, "Dark as a Dungeon." Part of it goes, "It's many a man/I have seen in my day/who lived just to labor/his whole life away. It's dark as a dungeon/damp as the dew/where dangers are doubled/and pleasures are few/where the rain never falls/and the sun never shines/it's dark as a dungeon/way down in the mines."
Last week, as an entire nation joined the suffering in a small place in West Virginia, the dungeon became a grave for 12 miners. It was no song. It was no movie. It was a real and profound human tragedy.
One of the numerous cliches that famous performers like to recite is that fame hasn't affected them. And they usually make that claim while calling on a cellphone from the back of a limo.
Singer Gretchen Wilson, easily the most famous woman in country music right now, says the same thing, but in her case you're inclined to believe it.
"I'm calling from the parking lot of a Jack in the Box. I just wolfed down a Sourdough Jack and some jalapeno poppers," she says. "I'm trying to get all of my Christmas shopping done today. I can't find this Amazing Amanda-or-something-or-other-doll for my daughter. Everybody's sold out of it."
You know, Gretchen, you probably could have someone do that for you.
"I love it too much," she says. "Where's the fun in getting someone else to buy your daughter's Christmas present? I know famous people do that, but it's just stupid to me."
A lot of stuff associated with fame is "stupid" to Wilson, a Pocahontas, Ill., native who hit it so big in 2004 with her barroom anthem Redneck Woman and the album that it came from, Here for the Party, that in just a matter of weeks she went from playing holes-in-the-wall to arenas and amphitheaters.
"The first year of all this was insane," she says. "People wanted me to do this, people wanted me to do that -- they were pulling me in all different directions, which I guess is what happens to a new artist who hasn't really established themselves yet. Back then, there was no time to take a breath or rest. Now, I have it under control. I have my schedule the way I want it. I'm in a good place."
In a way, she was in a good place when Here for the Party came out: Radio had turned its antennas away from the Dixie Chicks because of singer Natalie Maines' supposed anti-Bush comments; there weren't a lot of country females on the air, anyway; and Wilson's songs about blue-collar life and love spoke fluently to a particular slice of country-music fans -- and music fans in general.
"I didn't think that I was going to change anything, but we did know that the music I was doing was on the edge," she says. "Loretta Lynn released a lot of songs that turned a lot of heads, so I wasn't doing something 'new.' It was just edgy. The reality is, I found a record label willing to assist me in who I was, not create something that wasn't real.
There’s a point during a short film called “The Accountant,” which won the 2001 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film, where a goofball accountant, who is trying to help two brothers save a farm that has been in their family for generations from bankruptcy, explains the current state of country music.
“They wouldn’t let old Hank into Nashville these days,” the accountant says to the brothers, speaking of country music legend Hank Williams. “He’s too country. You’d have a better shot at playing the Grand Ole Opry these days if you were a folk singer from Ontario.”
That quote is indicative of the state of country music these days: it seems to be lacking in many of the qualities that actually make it country music.
When Martina McBride, one of the biggest country music stars going these days, took the stage at the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday night to open her 2006 U.S. tour in support of her recent collection of country standards, “Timeless,” the divide between old country and new country couldn’t have been any more apparent.
McBride, backed by a six piece band and a set reminiscent of a Nashville stage where country music careers are born, opened the show with an hour-long set of songs completely culled from “Timeless,” and therefore, from an era gone by.
She certainly looked timeless herself, dressed in an elegant cream colored dress that gave no hint that the woman on the stage was a proud mother of three daughters, the youngest of which was born just seven months ago.
Though she admitted to suffering from a mild bout of laryngitis, McBride made due with what she had while belting out classic such as Loretta Lynn’s “You’re Not Woman Enough” and Patsy Cline’s “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down.”
January 14, 2006
Last modified January 14, 2006 - 12:32 am
|click to enlarge image|
Lonnie Bell the radio personality is larger than life, even though Lonnie Bell the man doesn't clear 5 feet, 9 inches from the bottom of his cowboy boots to the top of his Stetson.
Now a 9-foot bronze of the local favorite greets visitors in the MetraPark Arena lobby just beyond the turnstiles.
"The county commissioners wanted it where all Montanans could see it," said the 81-year-old Bell.
After moving twice since its unveiling in 2002, the bronze likeness will stay put - for now. The 900-pound bronze, which spent two years at the Holiday Inn and one year at the Heights Stockman Bank, was moved to MetraPark last month. The bronze is owned by the Yellowstone County Museum and will be moved there once the museum's new building is complete. Construction on the building has not been scheduled, so MetraPark could house the bronze for several years.
World-renowned sculptor and Billings native Bill Rains was commissioned to create the statue for more than $50,000 in donations from sponsors and friends of Bell. A plaque next to the statue lists the names of 80 sponsors.
"I'm real thankful to have all these good friends," Bell said.
Bell was born in West Virginia and came to Billings in 1954. He's been here since. He hosted numerous No. 1-rated radio shows all over the country during his 52-year career as a country music disc jockey. "Lonnie Bell's Classic Country" still earns top ratings on two Billings stations on Sunday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. In 2005, the show was briefly pulled from its spot on 98.5 FM, but listener outcry brought the show back after a few months.
Some of Bell's career highlights include discovering Loretta Lynn. Bell met Lynn in Washington state and paid her $25 a night to sing with his band. Bell was a 2005 inductee of the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame.
In 2005, Bell was inducted to the Montana Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2002, he won the Golden Voice Award. He has received numerous other honors throughout his career.
Bell's approachable personality, soft Southern drawl and love of country music have made him a favorite in the Billings community and beyond.
He has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
"I'm kind of a one-day-at-a-time fellow," Bell said.
Buy a piece of twang town
December 30, 2005
had its hounds, Chicago had its cows and Nashville has had 10-foot-tall
fiberglass guitars scattered around the city in The GuitarTown Project. |
The public art exhibit of nearly 70 guitars, created by noted visual artists and some signed and embellished by music stars including George Jones, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Lee Ann Womack, Vince Gill and Brenda Lee, has been on display since last spring. The exhibit closes with a live auction of the 100-pound guitars at the GuitarTown Auction Gala Event on Feb. 23 to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, The DISTRICT, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the United Way of Nashville.
A limited number of tickets for the gala, $200 per person, will be available beginning Monday. The event includes the live guitar auction, a VIP reception, food and drink, a goodie bag, and a chance to appear in a television program taping. 871-4500 ex. 2908 or nashvilleguitartown.com. Or bid online now through the live auction on Feb. 23 at juliensauctions.com.
week in 1970, John Wayne was entertaining moviegoers with "True Grit,"
George C. Scott was selling theater tickets as the unforgettable
eccentric General in "Patton," Neil Simon's "Last Of The Red Hot
Lovers" was at the top of the bestseller list and a young Kentucky
country girl was adding another line to the music history books with a
song from her childhood.
Many hit songs are written from true life experience. According to Loretta Lynn, her 1970 hit song, "Coal Miner's Daughter," was one of those songs.
a 1980's interview, Loretta commented, "The song ‘Coal Miner's
Daughter,’ is the true story of my life back in Butcher Holler,
Kentucky. The lines in that song are true—all the way. My mama washed
our clothes out in the yard on a washboard and hung them out on that
old clothes line. And my daddy did work in the coal mines. All the men
in Butcher Holler worked in the coal mines. That's what the men around
there did back then. That was all there was. Life was hard back then
but that was all we knew.
"Coal Miner's Daughter" became
Loretta Lynn's 27th chart song. It entered the country music charts
Oct. 31, 1970 and made it to No. 1. It was on the country music charts
for 15 weeks.
The single also scored a No. 83 on the pop music charts.
song was not only a hit single, but became the springboard for a hit
album, a best selling autobiography and an Oscar-winning film.
Loretta Lynn is one of those rare artists who is still very much in the music business and in the spotlight after four decades.
She was one of eight children born to Clara and Ted Webb. As depicted in the film, her dad did scratch out a living working in the Kentucky coal mines.
Loretta married 21-year-old Oliver Lynn when she was barely 14 years old.
couple moved to Custer, Wa., and Loretta started having children. She
sang to their children which prompted "Doo" or "Mooney," as she called
her husband, to enter her in a local talent contest, which led to her
recording for Zero Records. Through the efforts of The Wilburn
Brothers, she was signed to record for Decca Records and under the
guidance of Owen Bradley, began a recording career that would place 77
songs on the country music charts from 1960 thru 1993, including 16 No.
Loretta Lynn was named The Country Music Associations' "Female Vocalist Of The Year" in 1967, 1972 and 1973, and was "Entertainer Of The Year" in 1972. She and Conway Twitty won "Vocal Duo Of The Year" in 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975.
She was elected to The Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1988.
HILO -- Beachfront North Kona property formerly owned by country and western singer Loretta Lynn will become state land in an exchange approved yesterday by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.
State to acquire
owned by Loretta Lynn
By Rod Thompson
Big Island correspondent
The current owner of the 3-acre property at Kiholo Bay, heart pacemaker inventor Dr. Earl Bakken, will trade it for six acres of state land mauka of his house.
Bakken earlier sought nine acres of pahoehoe lava land just mauka of his house as a location for a caretaker's house. Appraisals showed that the 3-acre Lynn property on a pebble beach, which Bakken bought in 1999 for $2.7 million, was equal in value only to six acres of the lava land.
A Land Board staff report said a 2,000-square-foot house built by Lynn is a liability, since it has no water, electricity, or sewer, and poses a security problem, so it has no value.
The staff recommended having Bakken remove the Lynn house, but Land Board head Timothy Johns said his department should be notified before the house is demolished in case some use is found for it.
Legislative approval for the exchange already has been granted.
Generous Midstate residents gave many families a reason to celebrate, but one need seemed just out of reach for the earthbound. While celebrities including Roseanne Barr, Loretta Lynn and WWE wrestlers responded with presents when they learned 15-year-old Danny Webster was waiting for a heart, Danny believes it was his daily prayers that brought the most precious gift.
His mother, Alexandria Webster, got the phone call on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m.
By midnight, a new heart was being placed into Danny's chest, and yesterday he was sitting up and talking. The family hopes to be living all together, up the street at the Ronald McDonald House, by the new year and returning to their old life six to eight weeks later.
"You just can't even imagine how it feels," Webster said.
Danny's room at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt has to stay pristine, without presents or decorations, to keep germs out while Danny is taking immune system-suppressing drugs. But that doesn't matter to the Webster family today.
"We had our Christmas on the 20th," Webster said with a smile.
My dad, Johnny Cash
The singing legend's only son writes about the one thing that mattered to his father more than music: family.
By John Carter Cash
The new film, "Walk the Line," is appropriately titled. Walking the line defined my father until the day he died, Sept. 12, 2003, at age 71.
My dad never got to see the final cut, but he had great faith that Joaquin Phoenix, as both an actor and singer, could pull off playing him. He saw how Sissy Spacek portrayed Loretta Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter" in 1980, and he was greatly impressed. To have his own singing voice come out of Joaquin's mouth? That wouldn't feel honest to Dad.
As Loretta Lynn once sang, "If you're lookin' at me, you're lookin' at country."
A near-sellout crowd looked, and listened Thursday night when the iconic country star took the stage at the Orpheum Theatre.
"What do you want to hear?" Lynn asked the audience, encouraging the crowd to join her as she launched into favorites such as "When the Tingle Becomes a Chill."
"Friends, sing along. That way you'll never hear how bad I am," she said, joking.
Earlier in the evening, local favorite Johnny Western treated the crowd to classic cowboy songs, including a medley of TV western theme songs. Lynn's twin daughters Patsy and Peggy, who perform under the stage name The Lynns, also warmed up the audience with more contemporary fare. Later on, they joined their mother for a few songs.
Lynn no longer wears beaded ball gowns onstage, performing instead in a purple spangled blazer and black pants. Truth be told, her music doesn't need sparkles or embellishments to shine.
At 70, Lynn's voice holds perhaps more twang than in her youth, and just as much grit as audiences have come to expect from Butcher Holler's honky-tonk girl.
She recently recovered from a bout of pneumonia, Lynn said. She looked somewhat frail onstage, performing most of her 40-minute set seated in an upholstered chair.
But Lynn is still a forceful presence. As the evening wore on, she captivated the Orpheum crowd with numbers such as "One's On the Way" and "God Bless America Again."
In the past 44 years Lynn has made more than 70 albums and recorded dozens of Top 10 singles, including "Don't Come Home A Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" and her theme song, "Coal Miner's Daughter," which later became the title of her best-selling autobiography and the Oscar-winning film version of the book.
Her latest album, 2004's gritty "Van Lear Rose," won two Grammys and offered an antidote to the pop-country sound coming out of Nashville today.
Lynn made her name in the 1960s and '70s with a straightforward honky-tonk style, delivering country songs from a blue-collar woman's perspective. The recording industry didn't know what to make of her frank take on the women's movement, but fans loved songs like "The Pill" and "Rated X," helping Lynn forge the way for strong female artists in all genres.
Decades later, her message still resonates with old fans, and Lynn has drawn in younger audiences thanks to her work with the White Stripes' Jack White, who produced "Van Lear Rose."
The Orpheum held plenty of new fans, and many longtime Lynn aficionados.
Wichitans Tim and Pat O'Sullivan said they went online as soon as they heard that the singer would perform in the area. Their foresight paid off with front-row seats.
"Her latest album is great, and we're big fans of country," Tim O'Sullivan said.
"To me she's like Hank Williams -- one of the great singers of country music."
For his wife, Lynn's appeal was even simpler: "She's an icon."
Farther back in the crowd, Cale Topinka, 31, settled in to listen to the country legend.
"I'm into punk rock, but I love old-time country," he said.
He was in the right place, then, with Lynn delivering hits such as "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)" and the natural show closer, "Coal Miner's Daughter."
As she sang the final notes, the audience gave her a standing ovation, hoping to bring the star back on stage for a final look at country, Loretta Lynn style.
By Laura Younkin
Special to The Courier-Journal
Nashville girls play too pretty these days. Where's Loretta Lynn threatening to beat up the other woman, Tammy Wynette with her over-the-top co-dependence or Kitty Wells talking back to the boys? The females in country music have gotten so tame they make Barbara Mandrell's reign look like madness.
Thank goodness for Gretchen Wilson. When she stormed into the Nashville music scene last year with "Here for the Party," she blew the hairs out of some perfectly styled coiffures. Wilson has a talent for appealing to men and women, old and young. She's knows how to take care of herself — and she'll take care of you, too, should you get out of line.
You know you're real country when Loretta Lynn tells you so.
For Lee Ann Womack, a 39-year-old native of Jacksonville, Texas, it was a defining moment early in her career.
Womack was just starting out and her self-titled album in 1997 was a refreshing oddity. Shania Twain's gimmicky brand of exclamation-point pop dominated the country market while Womack, with songs like Never Again, Again and The Fool, was a traditionalist.
Lynn was so taken with the newcomer she told her to stick to her guns and kindly keep it country. ''She's so sweet, so funny,'' Womack says of Lynn.
It was sage advice. After an ill-advised flirtation with mainstream country-pop on the poorly received and aptly named 2002 CD, Something Worth Leaving Behind, the follow-up to her smash 2000 effort I Hope You Dance, Womack startled the industry with her decidedly retro fifth studio album, There's More Where That Came From.
With its gauzy cover photo recalling vintage '60s Tammy Wynette LPs and song titles such as I May Hate Myself in the Morning, a poignant tale about a woman who turns to an ex for comfort even though she knows the relationship is doomed, and the descriptive Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago, There's More Where That Came From has become the darling of the country cognoscenti.
Two weeks ago, Womack won the coveted Album of the Year award from the Country Music Association, as well as Single of the Year for the plaintive I May Hate Myself in the Morning. Good News, Bad News, a duet with fellow traditionalist George Strait, from his Somewhere Down in Texas CD, garnered Womack her third CMA award of the night.
Listening to Loretta clearly paid off.
|© 2000 - 2005 The Bryan - College Station Eagle|
Pick the worst film biography of a country musician? No problem: the 1964 "Your Cheatin' Heart," in which George Hamilton (yes, the Tanned One) plays Hank Williams, who died at 29 looking as pale as if he'd never stepped out of a barroom.
But the best? Hard to say. Here are five in order of preference:
"Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980) -- Sissy Spacek (above, left) won an Academy Award for playing Loretta Lynn and doing her own singing; the film earned six more nominations (including best picture) and rode the crest of country music's mass popularity in the wake of "Urban Cowboy."
"Sweet Dreams" (1985) -- Jessica Lange was also Oscar-nominated for playing Patsy Cline, who died at 30 in a plane crash after establishing herself as country music's most affecting singer.
"Bound for Glory" (1976) -- Speaking of Oscars, this won for cinematography and score by profiling Woody Guthrie (David Carradine). Guthrie was more of a folk singer, but distinctions weren't clear in the 1940s, and country singers covered his music ("This Land is Your Land").
"Elvis" (1979) -- His roots were in country music, and to country music he returned at the end. Almost three dozen people have played him, but I'm partial to Kurt Russell in the TV biopic filmed shortly after his death.
"Payday" (1972) -- Maury Dann never existed, but Rip Torn brings him to life in this little-seen drama about a drink-fueled, womanizing, small-time musician who tours until he self-destructs. A gem worth seeking.
Directed by Michael Apted, this mother of all country music biopics stars Sissy Spacek as the lady in high-collared lace, Loretta Lynn, who rose from Kentucky pauper to Nashville royalty. Tommy Lee Jones nearly steals the show as the singer's impresario/husband, and Beverly D'Angelo makes a voluptuous, near-perfect Patsy Cline.
Pure country ingredient: Music supervision is by legendary producer Owen Bradley, who guided Lynn and Cline's best works.
Song pick: ''I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," reminding us of a time when all it took to conquer radio was talent, gumption, and gas in the car.
Hats off to: The Band drummer Levon Helm, showing a flair for the dramatic as Loretta's coal-mining dad.
Lip service: Who knew Carrie could sing? Not only did Spacek win an Oscar for this role, she was nominated for a Grammy, too.
Seattle Times movie critic
It's easy and perhaps inevitable to compare James Mangold's Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line" with "Ray," last year's Oscar-blessed drama about a famous musician who learns to overcome his demons. Each features vivid performances, heroic struggles against addiction and a warts-and-all view of the man at its center. ("Walk the Line" even comes with a hero haunted by a brother lost in childhood — just like "Ray.") But watching Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in "Walk the Line" kept bringing up memories of a different movie, and a fine one: "Coal Miner's Daughter," the 1980 biopic in which Sissy Spacek became Loretta Lynn before our eyes.
By Jeffrey Lee Puckett
When it's all said and done, Dwight Yoakam may end up one of Kentucky's two or three finest exports, ranking below Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe and bourbon but above, say, Merle Travis and Johnny Depp.
Walk the Line
Walk the Line will boost the careers of director James Mangold, Joaquin Phoenix and, above all, Reese Witherspoon, who initially seemed an unlikely choice for June Carter Cash. Ms. Witherspoon has less footage than Mr. Phoenix, but she commands the screen with such vibrancy that viewers will forget she was ever a "legal blonde."
She inhabits the role much as Sissy Spacek inhabited Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter. June's love for Johnny is complex, shaded by wariness of his lifestyle and her own love of performing. Ms. Witherspoon captures each layer of June's conflicted feelings.
Western Washington ain't exactly the Dust Bowl or the Painted Desert, what with all the precipitation and foliage. Regardless, something about the music of local Sera Cahoone conjures up a vibe that's a little bit The Grapes of Wrath, a little bit The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Her arrangements and vocal performances display astute economy, throwing her lyrics and melodies into sharp, almost exaggerated relief, like long afternoon shadows.My mother listened to everything from Patsy Cline to Dolly Parton to Fleetwood Mac," she notes of her formative years. "But then I rented Coal Miner's Daughter about five years ago. I haven't been the same since discovering Loretta Lynn." For confirmation, check out the confrontational stance of "Long Highway" (there's a mp3 of it up at www.seracahoone.com), wherein she quietly insists, "Don't tell me lies/for once tell me what's on your mind."
Special to The Seattle Times
Appetizing, no? It's all part of El Chupacabra's folksy, Mexi-Goth sensibility, which is reflected in its decor — the boisterous color-drenched excess of rural Mexico, complete with cow skulls, dancing skeletons and bloody hearts.It also has a jukebox to be reckoned with (featuring Loretta Lynn and the Sex Pistols — and all stops in between)
Giving the Gospel Ray Overholt's strong voice filled his Battle Creek living room with the words of his most popular song, "Ten Thousand Angels." "He
could have called 10,000 angels to destroy the world and set him free
... but he died alone for you and me," Overholt, 81, sang as his wife,
Millie, 76, accompanied him on the keyboard.
Ray Overholt's strong voice filled his Battle Creek living room with the words of his most popular song, "Ten Thousand Angels."
"He could have called 10,000 angels to destroy the world and set him free ... but he died alone for you and me," Overholt, 81, sang as his wife, Millie, 76, accompanied him on the keyboard.
Ten Thousand Angels," written in the 1950s, has sold more than a million copies and has been recorded by musicians such as Kate Smith and Loretta Lynn. It's also been sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and is still sung by soloists and church choirs, especially during the Lenten and Easter season.
"Long before Gretchen Wilson, there was another woman who was a bit of a redneck," McBride said before pulling out the stops on Loretta Lynn's You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man.
It was great to hear McBride's spirited version, and just plain satisfying to hear the song done live again.
We begin our roundup of another insanely rich autumn concert week by briefly referencing two important performances at hand. One is sold out. The other, by all rights, should be.
The first is the annual Renfro Valley visit by the Van Lear Rose herself, Loretta Lynn. And
as usual, her concerts tonight and Saturday have been sold out for
weeks. For the lucky fans with tickets.
|Coal Miner’s Daughter|
|Contributed by Brent Simon||
Wednesday, 02 November 2005|
We’re in the throes of a musical biopic renaissance, what with Jamie Foxx’s Oscar-winning turn in Ray, Kevin Spacey’s exaltation of Bobby Darin with Beyond the Sea and now James Mangold’s impending Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line. But the big-haired matriarch of the genre might well have to be director Michael Apted and star Sissy Spacek’s Coal Miner’s Daughter, a moving and engrossing 1980 Oscar-winner about country singer Loretta Lynn that eschews convention and presents one of the more honest and non-pandering Hollywood depictions of the South of the last quarter century.
The film starts off in a place most biopics don’t have to contend with — with its central character as a child bride. Loretta marries erstwhile moonshiner Doolittle Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones) and soon leaves the hills of rural poor Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, for Washington State. While launching a family of her own, it’s here that she and “Doo” discover her aptitude for music, and embark on crafting a career for her. The rest of the movie charts her life as a mother, wife and, of course, budding country superstar.
Spacek was a deserving Best Actress Academy Award winner for her mesmerizing, full-tilt turn as Lynn, and the rest of the supporting cast is uniformly excellent too (Beverly D’Angelo is especially fine as Patsy Cline). Still, it’s the movie’s honest depiction of Doo and Loretta’s difficult relationship — combined with unresolved guilt that Lynn feels toward her modest familial roots as she achieves success — that helps elevate Coal Miner’s Daughter above claptrap convention, and for this one can thank Apted, whose documentary training helps lend the film much authenticity, and Tom Rickman’s fine screenplay adaptation of Lynn’s own autobiography.
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with both a 5.1 Dolby digital audio track (a bonus for the musical numbers) and its original mono mix (blech!), Coal Miner’s Daughter’s supplements kick off with a genial and informed audio commentary track with Spacek and Apted. The director’s subsequent participation in a nine-minute interview of reminiscence with Tommy Lee Jones helps melt the actor’s gruff exterior a bit, and there’s also an exclusive interview with the real Lynn by Apted, filmed at the Loretta Lynn Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. There is also the strange inclusion of a five-minute clip from ex-President George Herbert Walker Bush speaking tangentially about the film at a 1989 American Film Institute event. A touted “limited edition photo journal” is really just an eight-page insert booklet with production stills and lifted quotes — some in character, some about the casting and making of the movie — but it’s a pleasant enough finishing touch for a fine film that should receive further acclaim. A- (Movie) A- (Disc)
By Doug Davis
This week in 1977, a young lady named Brenda Gail Webb was about to have the biggest record of her career—which began a list of hit records in 1970 and by this time in 1990 would place 52 songs on the country music charts, 12 of which would also score on the pop charts.
this time, Brenda Gail Webb was known as Crystal Gayle—a name given to
her by her big sister Loretta Lynn. According to Crystal (or Brenda
Gail) Loretta thought the new name was “bright and shiny” and that it
fit her little sister.
Record producer Allen Reynolds is credited with finding the song titled “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”
Richard Leigh was going through a period of depression at the time and
his next door neighbor, Sandy Mason, invited Reynolds to drop by and
cheer up the despondent Leigh. Reynolds came by and the three of them
sat on the floor of Leigh’s apartment while Richard sang some of his
songs. Richard finally mentioned one more song that he intended to send
to Shirley Bassey. After he sang “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,”
Reynolds insisted on taking the song with him.
At the time of the recording session, Crystal’s regular keyboard player, Charles Cochran, was recovering from a mild stroke, so Hargus “Pig” Robbins was called in his place. “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” was recorded in one take.
The song won Richard Leigh his second CMA Song Of The Year award and also netted two Grammy awards.
The United Artists single was also Crystal Gayle’s only million selling record.
entered the country music charts July 9, 1977 and made it to No. 1,
where it stuck for four weeks. It was her 13th charted single and was
on the country charts for 18 weeks.
A month after showing
up on the country list, the single debuted on the pop charts at No. 90
and 16 weeks later it peaked at No. 2—where it stayed for three weeks.
Please visit our website at www.countrymusicclassics.com
MusicThe Bardstown Opry. Nelson County Civic Center, 321 S. Third St., Bardstown, Ky. Friday, Oct. 21, 8 p.m., "Tribute to Loretta Lynn" with Emily Pirtle and the Country Cookin' Band,
'Coal Miner's Daughter' (1980) The straightforward storyline of this sweet film sticks quite closely to the details that Loretta Lynn laid out in her chatty 1976 autobiography. As Lynn, Sissy Spacek handles the vocal duties, and in the process eerily channels Lynn's spark. Flexing her malleable acting chops, Spacek is as convincing as 13-year-old Butcher Holler Loretta as she is the bouffant-crowned, granny-gowned Nashville Loretta of the 1970s.
Lynn's health problems (migraines, physical exhaustion) stand in for the standard biopic convention of street drugs, but there's menace to spare in the form of her devoted but dogmatic husband, Doo (Tommy Lee Jones). Bonus points for spotting William Sanderson (Larry from TV's Newhart) as a moonshiner and Levon Helm of the Band as Loretta's father Ted Webb. Free from flashback sequences and including only one performance-montage, Coal Miner's Daughter puts on no airs--just like Loretta Lynn.
Country Music star Loretta Lynn has canceled at least five concerts, including one tonight in Columbus, because of a broken left foot.
Lynn's agent told the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts that the singer broke her foot last night on her tour bus as it was headed to Columbus.
The RiverCenter is working to reschedule Lynn's performance. Ticket holders will be given a refund if they contact the RiverCenter box office at (706) 256-3625.
Lynn has also canceled performances in North Myrtle Beach and Columbia, South Carolina
Nixon, a lifelong Loretta fan, said there is nothing like hearing the audience clap after just a few lines of her daddy's favorite Loretta song, "Blue Kentucky Girl."
"She's my hero -- anybody knows that," Nixon said. "She had the guts to really do it and raise her family, and she has a high precedent for me. I really love her music and what she stood for."
America's "coal miner's daughter" took the stage as standing-room-only crowds filled the Tom Raper Center at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.
On Sept. 10, 1999, the crowd thundered with applause at the sight of Loretta Lynn, who had pulled herself up from Appalachian poverty to become one of the most popular and influential country singers ever.
Loretta Webb became Loretta Lynn at age 14, and at first seemed destined to a life of homemaking. But when her husband bought her a guitar as an anniversary present, the gift set her on the path to country music greatness, national stardom and a hit biopic, "Coal Miner's Daughter."
Don Grashey, who helped discover Loretta Lynn, Caroll Baker, dies at 79
THUNDER BAY, Ont. (CP) - Don Grashey, the Canadian country music manager and label owner who helped discover Loretta Lynn, has died.
Grashey passed away at his home in Thunder Bay, Ont., at the age of 79. He and Vancouver producer Chuck Williams, who died just over a week ago, heard the voice of a girl in the late 1950s they thought sounded like Kitty Wells and offered her a chance to cut a record with the pair's label.
That girl was Lynn, and the record was I'm A Honky Tonk Girl.
Grashey went on to manage the music careers of Myrna Lorrie, Carroll Baker and Cindi Cain.
He was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989 and was known as a paternal figure for up-coming country singers.
"He was always like a father to me," Baker said Monday in an interview, near tears.
"He was one of the greatest parts of the past in country music in this country that anybody will ever see."
Baker released most of her records, which included a string of No. 1 hits in the late 1970s, on Grashey's Gaity label, which he ran out of Thunder Bay.
"He brought a certain business sense to the industry where there wasn't much at that time," said Larry LeBlanc of Billboard Magazine.
"He single-handedly moulded and worked with Caroll Baker."
As a songwriter, Grashey's repertoire included Are You Mine? The song has been recorded by numerous artists including Ernest Tubb and Red Sovine.
Canadian country veteran Grashey dead at 79By Larry Leblanc Sep 13, 2005, 20:14 GMT
TORONTO - Canadian country manager, label owner and songwriter Don Grashey passed away at home in Thunder Bay, Ontario Monday (Sept. 12) at the age of 79.
His death coincided with the presentation of the 2005 Canadian Country Music Awards in Calgary, Alberta. Just ten days earlier, his longtime business partner Chuck Williams also passed on.
Grashey was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989. He is widely recognized for discovering American country singer LORETTA LYNN while she was performing in Vancouver, British Columbia nightclubs in the late `50s. Grashey signed Lynn to his Vancouver-based Zero Records label, and produced her regional hit 'I`m a Honky Tonk Girl.'
In addition, Grashey discovered 14 year-old Canadian singer Myrna Lorrie in 1955, and launched her short-lived North American country career.
Grashey`s most sustained production and management success came with Canadian singer Carroll Baker, Canada`s reigning country queen of the 1970s and 1980s.
Grashley produced 18 No. 1 Canadian hits for Baker on his Gaiety Record label and then for RCA Records Canada. These included 'I`ve Never Been So Far Before,' 'The Hungry Fire of Love,' and 'One Night of Cheatin.'Baker broke down when informed of her mentor`s death by Billboard.biz. 'I can`t believe it,' she said. 'I talked to him last week and I was going to see him later this month. We went through so much together
"Coal Miner's Daughter" is no "Ben-Hur" -- for one thing, no chariots, only coal trains -- but the slightly fictionalized 1980 portrait of country music singer and composer Loretta Lynn, whose career was reignited last year with help from Detroit's Jack White, was extremely influential.
Its calluses-and-hard-times treatment of Lynn's life and long marriage to hard-drinking, womanizing Mooney Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones) was very different from the usual air-brushed bios. It set the template for films like "Ray" and the upcoming "Walk the Line," about Lynn's contemporary, Johnny Cash.
The new "25th Anniversary Edition" "(FOUR STARS out of four stars, Universal, $19.98) makes its biggest improvement where it was needed most: the soundtrack. It has Sissy Spacek doing a fine job singing Lynn's songs, but is now pristinely presented in 5.1 Surround. (If you listen closely, you can now hear Levon Helm, the former drummer for the Band, who plays Lynn's daddy, singing at his own funeral.)
|RECORDING ARTISTS / SONGWRITERS|
GMA Award Winner
The Greenhornes, with members from Southeast Indiana and Northern
Kentucky formed here 10 years ago, were selected as the opening act for
the entire White Stripes' tour.
While playing Detroit clubs in the late '90s, the Greenhornes would find a kindred minimalist musical spirit in Jack White, who had been playing the Detroit club scene in punk, blues and country bands.
Two years ago, when country legend Loretta Lynn went looking for a producer to give her a rugged back-to-basic sound, she hooked up with White. He in turn brought in the Greenhornes' rhythm section of Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler to work on several cuts on Lynn's "Van Lear Rose." The heavily Grammy-nominated album won country album of the year in January.
This One-Tank Adventure was submitted by reader Betty Pace of Winchester.
Butcher Hollow, home of country music legend Loretta Lynn, sits in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, near the town of Van Lear.
Fans of Lynn who want to tour her homeplace are instructed with signs posted on trees and buildings to stop at Webb’s Country General Store for directions. The store is on Ky. 302 near Miller’s Creek and is owned by Herman Webb, Lynn’s brother. Webb’s daughter Madonna runs the store and gives directions.
On a recent trip to the area, my daughter and I decided to stop. Webb’s store sits by the side of the road with a large welcome sign to Johnson County, “Home of the Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Lynn’s name is signed below. A picture of a guitar is attached to the sign.
Madonna instructed us to go straight from the store until we came to a large rock with “Butcher Hollow” engraved into it.
As we approached Lynn’s homeplace, there were more signs posted on trees. One said it cost $5 a person to tour the house, and another said, “Not responsible for accidents.”
Herman Webb sat on the porch in a swing. Lynn’s voice echoed through the mountains, from an old Victrola: “I was born a coal miner’s daughter.” I gave Herman $10, and he took us inside the four-room house, which is furnished with antique beds, hand-stitched quilts, cane-bottom chairs, pictures of Lynn and other celebrities, and an old moonshine still.
Notes from Lynn’s fans are scribbled on the wallpapered rooms. Herman kept us entertained throughout the tour with stories of Lynn’s childhood. We were allowed to touch the items and take pictures. The tour took about 30 minutes, but because we were the only ones there, we were allowed to stay as long as we wanted. The house has a long porch and an attic, which was not open for tour.
IF YOU GO
Where: Van Lear.
When: Open mostly year-round. Call ahead at (606) 789-3397 to make sure someone will be on hand to lead a tour.
For more info: Contact Paintsville Tourism, 1-800-542-5790, or visit the Web site, www.paintsville.org.
(Photo used by permission of Rutledge Hill Press)
When not amazing audiences across the nation with her critically acclaimed new album, Van Lear Rose, Loretta Lynn enjoys amazing family and friends with her home-style cooking.
Loretta, the second of eight children born to Clara and Ted Webb in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, discovered her passion for cooking when she was 18. At the time, she was living in Custer, Washington, with her husband Oliver (aka “Doolittle” or “Doo”). She was busy raising four children and years away from launching her illustrious singing career and releasing her best-selling autobiography, The Coal Miner’s Daughter, which later became an Oscar-winning film starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones.
As a gift to her children (she ended up having six total), the country music icon began writing down some of the recipes that had been passed down to her over the years by family and friends. While working on this project, she was inspired to write her own cookbook, entitled You’re Cookin’ It Country. This 216-page book features more than 25 anecdotes of her funniest moments in the kitchen, family photos, and over 130 of her favorite recipes. The recipes include Doolittle’s Cat-head Biscuits, Loretta’s Wilted Lettuce, Chicken & Dumplin’s, and Peanut Butter Fudge.
Loretta wrote her cookbook, as well as tested all of the recipes, in her Nashville, Tennessee, home. Below she discusses her love of cooking, her experience gathering recipes for her cookbook, and her favorite foods.
Home Business: Outside of family, who most influenced your expertise in the kitchen?
Loretta Lynn: Besides my Mommy and Doo’s Mom, Angie Lynn, I learned the most about cooking from Blanche Green when we lived in Washington. Blanche was the aunt of two brothers, Clyde and Bob Green, that I house-cleaned for. Blanche lived with them and cooked everyday. She was a great cook.
HB: How much of your cooking know-how, recipes, etc. were passed to you in writing? How much was passed on through word of mouth?
LL: Usually, I don’t go by recipes. I cook like my Mommy — a pinch of salt, a pinch of this and a pinch of that. I taste everything as I go along, so I can add what it needs. Sometimes it works and sometimes it don’t. That’s why, before it’s ready, I make sure I’m tasting it.
HB: Are there any foods you remember your mother — or the other cooks in your life — preparing for which you never got the recipe?
LL: My Mommy was part Indian and she knew every root and herb there was in Van Lear, Kentucky. When I was little, I’d watch her add all the wild onions and herbs to different things she would make for us. Back then, we had no such thing as season salt. Seasoning with those roots and herbs didn’t come from a recipe, but my Mommy could turn anything into a meal fit for a king.
HB: Did you teach your own children how to cook? Were the lessons deliberate or just a part of teaching them to take responsibility around the house?
LL: I started teaching all my kids at an early age to not only cook, but that they all had certain chores around the house. I think it’s one of the first lessons of responsibility we teach our children, and it’s a great way to spend time together ... and I have to say all my kids are great cooks.
HB: What is your idea of the perfect Southern meal?
LL: There’s so much great southern food, it’s hard to pick the “perfect southern meal,” but I’d love a dinner made up of cucumber salad, chicken n’ dumplin’s, green beans, stewed cabbage, fried okra, mashed potatoes, homemade yeast bread, and blackberry cobbler.
HB: When you are on the road, what food do you miss the most?
LL: When I’m on the road, I miss my fresh baked bread and desserts the most.
HB: What is your favorite food and what do you like cooking for yourself?
LL: I have many favorite foods, but a few I like the most are catfish, mashed potatoes, and peanut butter fudge. HBM
|Press Release||Source: Universal Studios Home Entertainment|
'Coal Miner's Daughter 25th Anniversary Edition'
Wednesday August 24, 1:48 pm ET
Loretta Lynn: More Than a Country Music Icon
A true entertainment legend, Loretta Lynn's popularity extends far beyond traditional fans of country music. A singer-songwriter whose lyrics featured hard-hitting descriptions of life as a working-class wife and mother in the '60s and '70s, Lynn became a hero to a generation of American women who appreciated her outspokenness. Lynn's face has graced the cover of "Newsweek" magazine and her 1976 autobiography (written with journalist George Vescey) was a "New York Times" Bestseller. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, she has had 78 singles on the Billboard chart, 16 of which went to No. 1. Lynn has recently enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity, launching a bold comeback in 2004 after joining forces with rocker Jack White of The White Stripes, who produced her critically hailed album "Van Lear Rose." At the age of 69, Lynn took home two Grammys including one for Best Country Album and regularly sells out concerts, demonstrating that her music resonates as much with mass audiences today as it did 45 years ago.
Bonus Buried Treasure
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of "Coal Miner's Daughter's" release, Universal uncovered fantastic new bonus features that make this great movie even more enjoyable for home entertainment consumers.
* Feature Commentary with Sissy Spacek and Director Michael Apted
* Tommy Lee Jones Remembers "Coal Miner's Daughter"
* An Exclusive Interview with Loretta Lynn and Director Michael Apted
* President George Bush Sr. Salutes AFI and "Coal Miner's Daughter"
In the acclaimed performance that earned her the Academy Award® for Best Actress, Sissy Spacek stars as legendary country singer and songwriter Loretta Lynn, who rose from humble beginnings in the dirt poor Appalachian Mountains to become the "Queen of Country Music." Eighteen-years-old and already married with four children, Lynn still finds time to write songs and perform at small fairs and local honky-tonks. Recognizing her raw talent and huge potential, her ambitious husband Doolittle "Mooney" Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones) prods her into making a record and driving cross -- country from radio station to radio station to promote it. After a performance at Nashville's famed Grand Ole Opry, the record becomes a smash hit, launching her career to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever. But success is a two-edged sword for Lynn. The pressure of fame combined with her own inner demons lead to a drug problem and eventually a mental breakdown.
CAST & FILMMAKERS
Director: Michael Apted
Screenplay By: Tom Rickman
Based on a Book By: Loretta Lynn, George Vecsey
Produced By: Bernard Schwartz
Director of Photography: Ralf D. Bode
Production Designer: John W. Corso
Edited By: Arthur Schmidt
Costume Designer: Joe I. Tompkins
Cast: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Levon Helm, Phyllis Boyens, William
Sanderson. Beverly D'Angelo
Published August 11, 2005, in issue 0432 of the Hook
BY LINDSAY BARNES LINDSAY@READTHEHOOK.COM
PHOTOS BY JEN FARIELLO JEN@JENFARIELLO.COM
On the night of July 30, the 3,500 people who filed into the new Charlottesville Pavilion expecting to see a country music concert ended up getting much more. Instead of simply singing her songs and then leaving for the next town, Loretta Lynn let the capacity crowd in on an intimate evening of friends and fun as she visited with longtime pal and Albemarle resident Sissy Spacek.
Not long into her set, Lynn managed to coax an admittedly nervous Spacek to help her sing the songs that Spacek brought to life on the big screen 25 years ago in Coal Miner's Daughter. Unfortunately for Spacek, the words didn't come as easily as they had in 1980, and she giggled and blushed trying to keep up with Lynn. "She's bashful," Lynn explained.
In spite of Spacek's best tactful efforts to make a graceful exit after a few numbers, Lynn would have none of it, and soon the two were catching up and reminiscing like they were sitting on Lynn's front porch in Tennessee.
"Her and I are closer than sisters, 'cause there's things we told each other that our sisters don't know and they never will know," said Lynn. Then, as if about to spill the beans, Lynn made a playful nod to Spacek's husband, asking "Jack [Fisk]'s not here, is he?"
In between hits like "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" (or "Sissy on your mind" as Lynn improvised) "Fist City," and "Portland, Oregon" and discussions of family, what the two stars wear to the grocery store ("jeans and an old top" for both), Lynn and Spacek recounted stories from the production of Coal Miner's Daughter. Among the highlights were Lynn's tendency to pin her lyrics to the lampshades in Spacek's trailer so the young star could learn them and how record producer Owen Bradley taught both of them to be better singers.
But the best nugget from the evening was an anecdote revealing how Spacek came to play Lynn in the first place. Lynn recalled, "I was in Los Angeles by the pool, and they brought me a bunch of pictures. I saw this little freckle-faced girl and said, 'That's gonna be the Coal Miner's Daughter.'" Trouble was, Spacek learned of Lynn's choice only when Lynn made it known on The Tonight Show that "Little Sissy Spacek's gonna play me in the movie."
Spacek recounted that she had already signed on to do "some art film" and went to one of Lynn's concerts to tell her. But she got caught in traffic and missed the whole show. The Oscar-winner then broke out her best Loretta Lynn impression as she recalled watching the larger-than-life Lynn emerge into the parking lot leaving the venue and berating one band member for playing too loudly: "Bam, bam, bam! All I can hear up there are those drums!"
"That's when I knew I had to play this woman," Spacek said, at which point Lynn added, "You're gonna have to make a sequel, 'cause I've done most of my living in [the last] 25 years!"
Soon enough, Lynn and Spacek sang "Coal Miner's Daughter" and left the stage to continue their visit elsewhere, but not before providing Charlottesville with a glimpse of the unique friendship between two entertainment giants who never stopped being country girls at heart.
Loretta Lynn told her old friend Sissy Spacek she'd have to reprise her Academy Award-winning performance and make a sequel to Coal Miner's Daughter.
Lynn attracted a capacity crowd to Downtown's new Charlottesville Pavilion.
The view from Belmont Bridge
Lynn's daughter, Patsy, takes the stage.
Country music steel guitar great Hal Rugg died Tuesday morning in his Tucson, Ariz., home, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 69.
Rugg, a Steel Guitar Hall of Famer and a member of the Grand Ole Opry staff band for 16 years, played on records by George Jones, The Osborne Brothers, Joan Baez, Porter Wagoner, Steve Wariner, Billy Walker, Ronnie Milsap and many others. He was best-known for his work with Loretta Lynn, for whom Rugg contributed memorable parts on numerous hits. Rugg's steel is a prominent feature on Lynn hits including Coal Miner's Daughter, Don't Come Home A Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind) and One's On The Way.
It's traditional country and new country here this week. In this corner (or, actually, in this casino), we have Loretta Lynn, a revivified legend, thanks to her “Van Lear Rose” CD produced by The White Stripes' Jack White. In this casino, we have LeAnn Rimes, a one-time teen sensation who went pop and then returned to country with her latest CD, “This Woman.”
Both are among the best singers of any type in country music, so it's bound to be a proverbial win-win. Even better, Lynn is playing two nights at Mohegan Sun's Wolf Den, so you can catch her the day after Rimes' show at Foxwoods.
Earlier this year, Lynn won her first Grammy in 33 years. Last time was her only Grammy win, for her “After the Fire is Gone” duet with Conway Twitty. This time, she walked off with best country album honors and country collaboration award for her “Portland Oregon” duet with White.
In his Grammy speech, White recalled Loretta telling him while they were recording “Van Lear Rose,” “You know what, Jack, 14 of my songs got banned by country radio and every time they wouldn't play it, it went No. 1.” White said, “Well, country radio wouldn't play this record either. Look who's No. 1 now.”
This time, Hill tries to yee-haw her way back into her core audience's hearts in the album's first single, where she declares herself a "Mississippi Girl."
Clearly, many are convinced, because "Fireflies" just opened at No. 1 on Billboard's latest Top 200 Album chart, with sales of 311,675 copies. The single has become a Top 5 Country hit.
So, is the rally deserved?
Sort of, but not because Hill has suddenly transformed herself into Loretta Lynn. At its best, Hill's sixth album delivers on her forte. She offers engagingly straightforward vocals that never get in the way of a solid melody.
Loretta shows her Stripes
By JANE STEVENSON
If Lynn has her way, they'll do a Christmas collection, a religious album called Thank God For Jesus, and another disc of original material.
"A lot of artists have asked him to record 'em and he just don't say anything," Lynn told the Sun this week. "I'm the only one that he'll ever work with."
They also want to hit the road together. "We're planning on
doing something in the fall," she said. "We want to do that, him and I
do. We're going to tell the managers exactly what we're going to do so
there ain't nothing they can do about it!"
Around the country, there's some pretty good entertainment out there for you to see if your in the neighborhood. Country legend Loretta Lynn will be at the Turning Stone Casino in upstate New York Aug. 11 and she's as good as she ever was.
I happen to love country music and country singers. I've always found them friendlier than most folks I meet and as down to earth as you can get.
Loretta Lynn's no different. I've never had the chance to interview her, but did meet her a number of years ago, and according to her friends, what you see is what you get. If that's the case, you're getting a lot.
This straight-talkin' women-liberatin' song-writin' country-western star rose up from poverty to become one of the most popular and influential singers of our time. She was born in Butcher's Hollow, Kentucky on April 14 in 1935 and over her long career paved the way for women in the man's world of country music.
While pretty, she wasn't a staggering beauty, and while successful, she did have real-life problems to deal with, including having to raise six kids and handle a drinking, sometimes wayward, husband. When Loretta sang songs about divorce, men who drink, and the pill, she gave voice to women who were starting to find their strength, women who couldn't identify with other famous women singers of the times like raucous Janis Joplin, or psychedelic Grace Slick. And Loretta's message was even stronger because she didn't just sing those controversial songs, she wrote them. Loretta established herself in a field -- country/western music -- that didn't have many successful women.
Thanks to Loretta's pioneering work in the '60s, great stars like Dolly Parton and Tanya Tucker were able to flourish in the '70s. Tanya, in a TV interview, said Loretta "was one of the first to tell it like it is."
Tammy Wynette said, "Loretta definitely paved the way for me, I was always so proud of Loretta, she was so honest, she was so sincere." And in the '80s, none other than President George Bush summed up her impact succinctly: "Loretta is as close as you get to a household word in this country."
Loretta, not surprisingly, remains humbled by the acclaim: "I don't believe in stars, except the ones you can look up and see." It's the kinda gal she is. Don't miss this chance to see her.
Published July 28, 2005 in issue 0430 of The Hook
BY LINDSAY BARNES
Sissy Spacek is having an old friend over on Saturday, and everyone in Charlottesville is invited. Organizers booked a live band months ago, but the set-list seems flexible.
"She said something about singing a couple of songs," says Spacek. "And I said, 'Which ones?' And she said 'I don't know; just pick a couple.'"
The two met when work began in the late 1970s on the film Coal Miner's Daughter. At the time, few folks probably realized the impact it would have on its two principals more than two decades later.
For its subject, the motion picture would introduce her songs to an audience who considered country music terra incognita. For its star, who had electrified audiences as the vengeful high-school star of Carrie, it not only helped her avoid typecasting, but catapulted her into the upper echelon of the dramatic arts.
Now, 25 years after the film's release, the First Lady of Country Music and the woman who told her story to millions are getting together again. On July 30, the Charlottesville Pavilion inaugurates its season by reuniting Loretta Lynn and Sissy Spacek.
They won't simply shake hands. According to Spacek, Lynn has asked her to be her duet partner on a few numbers.
Despite a quarter-century friendship with the country star, Spacek admits to being nervous about following in the footsteps of such musical giants as Conway Twitty and Ernest Tubb by appearing onstage with the Loretta Lynn.
"I'm thinking 'What the heck am I going to do?' I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, I haven't done these songs in 20 years!'"
Spacek is no stranger to nervousness. It's that same anxiety she felt when Lynn handpicked the young up-and-coming actress to be her celluloid doppelganger in Coal Miner's Daughter.
"I had mixed emotions," confesses Spacek, who has lived in Albemarle County since 1980, the year the film was released. "I was thrilled, but then Loretta decided before I decided," she says.
After receiving Lynn's blessing, Spacek began an extensive regimen of vocal training. She worked with the people who taught Loretta Lynn how to sound like Loretta Lynn: her band, her longtime producer, Owen Bradley-- and Lynn herself.
As if looking, moving, and talking like a living legend weren't difficult enough, Spacek decided to take her transformation a step further. In order to truly become Lynn, she insisted on doing all of her own singing for the role. It was a conclusion she reached by watching one of her contemporaries portray another icon of American music.
"I'd seen a film with Gary Busey called The Buddy Holly Story where he did his own singing," recalls Spacek, "and it was so amazing, and it added such an element of realism."
To this day, the veteran actress waxes rhapsodic about Coal Miner's Daughter. "It was a real, real special group of people, and it was a great experience. I think everyone in that film did extraordinary work," she says.
Apparently, others agreed. Not long after her 30th birthday, Spacek found herself onstage at the 53rd Academy Awards accepting the Best Actress Oscar for her performance, beating out the likes of Ellen Burstyn and Mary Tyler Moore.
Although she compares that night to an "out of body experience," Spacek does remember giving her acceptance speech and spotting Lynn. "She was in the audience, I could see Doolittle's [Lynn, Loretta's husband] cowboy hat."
What did Loretta say to her after the win? "I think she said something like, 'I knew it,'" Spacek recalls.
It was the ultimate affirmation of a lesson that Spacek took to heart throughout the making of Coal Miner's Daughter: "I learned to just do whatever Loretta said. She's never wrong."
Which is precisely why Spacek, 55, has agreed to sing along with her old friend at Saturday's show.
When that moment comes, she'll be looking out on an audience younger than those who have gone to see Butcher Holler's favorite daughter in the past. That's because the 70-year-old country music legend won a whole new generation of fans last year with the album Van Lear Rose, a collaboration with ultra-popular garage rocker Jack White of the White Stripes.
That Grammy-winning LP was the first time many teens and 20-somethings had heard of Lynn, but at least two young'uns at the Pavilion show will know her older material: Spacek's daughters, Schuyler and Madison Fisk.
"Loretta has always been synonymous with the family," says Spacek, "so they have her songs on their iPods along with Jimi Hendrix and Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews Band."
So what exactly will Schuyler and Madison's mom sing with Lynn at the concert? Pressed for details, Spacek says sheepishly, "I'll just be humming along in the background, and it will be my honor because I love and adore her.
"Everyone has a façade, but Loretta
doesn't," Spacek says. "I can't think of how to explain it." It's
likely that after Saturday's performance, explanations won't be
necessary for Lynn's Charlottesville audience to know exactly what her
old friend means.
Loretta Lynn and Sissy Spacek join in a duet during a 1980 party to launch the national release of Coal Miner's Daughter in Los Angeles.
AP FILE PHOTO