Country icon Lynn to celebrate birthday in ToledoWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s not every day a music legend calls. But Loretta Lynn talks like she rang up a friend down the street.
“This morning I got up and [my knee] was hurtin’ so bad,” she said. “And my daughter says, ‘Momma, why’s it still hurtin’?’ And I said, ‘Well, when you’re cut on, I imagine it hurts for a little while.’ ”
Make no mistake: The first lady of country music is tough. And even though she had to cancel March concert dates to have torn cartilage repaired in her right knee, she plans to be in Toledo April 14 for a 7:30 p.m. show at Stranahan Theater.
If you want to help Lone Wolf Productions, Toledo Free Press and 107.7 The Wolf celebrate Lynn’s 76th birthday, tickets are $62.50 and $52.50. Rory + Joey is scheduled to open.
The native of Butcher Holler, Ky., is working harder than ever.
There’s a project with her sister, Crystal Gayle.
“We’ve been trying to pick the songs and stuff for quite a bit,” Lynn said during a phone interview from her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. “Me and my sister, Peggy Sue, my other little sister, she’s singin’ backup for Crystal right now. So we’re going to record an album.”
And she’s revisiting some of her greatest hits.
“I’m goin’ to record all the No. 1’s and then the top fives,” she said.
That’s a lot of songs. She was the first woman in country music to have 50 top 10 hits.
Chart-toppers include “Fist City,” “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “One’s on the Way,” “Rated X” and “She’s Got You.” Lynn reached the top five with several songs, including “The Pill,” “You’re Lookin’ at Country,” “Happy Birthday,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man),” “They Don’t Make ’em Like My Daddy” and “Your Squaw Is on the Warpath.”
“I was writin’ from a woman’s standpoint, mostly because of the way I was feelin’ you know, so I didn’t know it’d hit so many women but found out they all felt like me,” Lynn said and laughed.
Was she trying to stir up controversy?
“I didn’t know so many of us was feelin’ the same way at the time. And after I’d get ’em recorded, some people would say, ‘You’re not goin’ to release that, are you?’ Well, what’d you think I cut it for?” she said.
“I didn’t think anything about it when I was writin’ ’em. I mean, like ‘The Pill.’ Everybody was just takin’ the pill, wasn’t they? Everybody but me, and I had the kids to prove that,” she said and laughed.
“I think the big hits are real things,” Lynn continued. “I think you need to keep it kind of true to life. If you do that, you’re gonna hit most people.”
Most are familiar with the Grammy Award winner’s life story. Her 1976 best-selling book, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” was made into a movie and released in 1980. Sissy Spacek won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the country superstar.
Lynn said her life didn’t change much after the film.
“I was really with my fans all the time; every show I did, I’d get down and talk to my fans and go places with them and do things with them. So really, I didn’t see much of a change except some of the people that would come around I’d never seen before. It was just a bigger audience.”
Her fan base continues to grow, thanks to a collaboration with Jack White on 2004’s “Van Lear Rose” and the diverse artists on “Coal Miner’s Daughter — A Tribute to Loretta Lynn,” which was released last fall and features Paramore, Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock and Reba McEntire. Lynn sings the title track on the latter with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow.
“I grew up listening to Loretta and she was a great influence on me and my music,” Lambert wrote in an e-mail to Toledo Free Press. “I feel honored that she asked me to be a part of her project and love her song ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter.’ It was definitely a thrill and a career highlight.
“She told me that I was feisty!”
“She is feisty, let me tell you, that girl’s somethin’ else,” Lynn said of Lambert. “She wrote me a letter the other day and she said it’s time we start writin’. And she sent me the idea for the song, so I’m goin’ have to call her and tell her let’s get with it.”
The first woman to receive the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year honor said fans can expect some new music this year.
“I’m doin’ a Christmas album, a religious album — I’ve got some of them already recorded — and another album of new stuff,” she said.
And the Country Music Hall of Famer is dabbling in art.
“Piddlin’ and paintin’ — that’s what I’m doin’ right now,” she said. “I’m tryin’ to paint some flowers, which I’ve never done before. Just playin’, you know, but I’ve got paint all over and all over me.
“I’m just startin’. I’m afraid to try to paint anything more than a flower ’cause if I make a mistake, I can just make the flower bigger,” she said and laughed.