Country music revolutionary, Grammy Lifetime Achievement award winner and national songwriters Hall of Fame member, Loretta Lynn performed on Friday, March 2 at Shippensburg University to a sold-out Luhr’s Performing Arts Center.
Lynn’s career took off in 1967 when she charted her first of what would be 17 No. 1 singles.
Throughout her career, Lynn was a powerful voice for woman’s rights and equality among the genders. Her straight-forward approach and delivery cemented her place as one of the legends of country music.
The show started at 8 p.m. as Lynn’s eight-member backup band, Burt Hansen and The Coal Miners took the stage. After playing two songs, the band introduced Lynn’s daughters, Peggy and Patsy.
Before starting their own three-song set, Peggy and Patsy talked about their mother and what this particular tour meant to her.
“Tonight we are celebrating five decades of Loretta in music,” Peggy Lynn said. The crowd’s reaction to that statement was louder than any it produced during the five songs that were performed before Loretta Lynn walked on stage.
Wearing a sparkling blue dress, Lynn performed her first song of the night, “They Don’t Make Them Like My Daddy Anymore,” over the cheers of a standing ovation.
Proudly boasting of her rural roots, after the song, Lynn said, “If you are looking at me, you are looking at country.”
Throughout her 22-song set the self-titled queen of country music played hit after hit from her famous career. Lynn,76, possessed a quick wit that often left the crowd and her band chuckling to themselves.
At one point early in her performance, Lynn asked the crowd for requests, saying, “This is your show. Whatever you want to hear, holler it out.”
She paused for a second, then said, “Doesn’t mean I’ll sing it.”
Lynn was able to mix in some of her lesser-known songs into the set.
The crowd was treated to the first song Lynn ever wrote, an upbeat twangy track titled “Honky Tonk Girl.”
The diversity of Lynn’s work was on full display.
There were a lot of honky tonk friendly country jams, but Lynn also showed off the songs that made her one of the most controversial and revolutionary figures in country music. Her powerful Vietnam War protest song “Dear Uncle Sam,” had lyrics that could have been written for this generation.
After playing “Dear Uncle Sam” Lynn took a brief break while her band played a cover of “Oh Brother Where Art Thou.” Lynn also played her song from 1975, “The Pill” which comically depicts the happiness of a housewife who discovers birth control.
At the time of its release the song was considered quite risqué and banned on many country music radio stations.
It appears that the song has lyrics that could easily apply to this generation.
Following the break of “Oh Brother Where Art Thou,” Lynn entered into the final stretch of her set.
As the crowd sensed that the show was coming to an end, it fed on the singer’s energy and reached some of its loudest points of the night.
When her band queued the music for the country star’s most popular song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the audience lost it.
As all who could stand, did, Loretta gathered her strength for what would be the final song of the night.
As the crowd sang and danced along, Lynn put on a performance worthy of their excitement.
After the song, Lynn thanked the fans then left the stage to prepare for her show the next night in Verona, N.Y.
Her band mates stayed 10 minutes longer to sign autographs and interact with fans.
They also seemed in awe of Lynn.
“Working with her is a blast, a dream come true,” said the lead singer and guitarist of Lynn’s backup band, Bart Hansen. “Loretta is a great lady. She is just what you think she is.”