Favorite

Loretta Lynn 

Robinson Center Music Hall, Nov. 24

There was some grumbling. Folks shelled out half a hundred dollars or more on Saturday for “an evening with Loretta Lynn,” the queen of country music, and instead got saddled with the Lynn Family Revue. From a biographical perspective, seeing three generations of Lynns onstage brought “The Coal Miner's Daughter” narrative into the present nicely, as the twins Patsy and Peggy, their older brother Ernest Ray, and his daughter Tayla took to the stage. But strip away the family time and the audience was left with precious little solo Loretta, who, even at 73, still sings about as bright and strong as she did 50 years ago, which is to also say, a mile better than any of her descendants.

After she strolled in singing “Let Your Love Flow” and wearing a tomato-red gown (made, she revealed, by her assistant Tim Cobb, a Little Rock native, whom she later coaxed out for a bow), she claimed “hoarse” and spent most of the rest of her performance seated — better to display the gown in all its mass and pouf and sparkle. But if this was Loretta depleted, her voice didn't register it.

Early on she invited the audience to call out requests. “It doesn't mean I'm gonna play them,” she deadpanned, “but you can call them out all you want.” Joke aside, she worked through rousing versions of a good chunk of what folks likely wanted to hear, hits like “Fist City,” “The Pill,” “You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” and “Don't Come Home A'Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind).”

A seven-piece band backed her and, from the rear of the stage, sporting three generations of Nashville hair — a fading pompadour, a shoulder-length mane and one of those $80 angular 'dos of today — a multigenerational trio sang back-up and, in the later part of the set, took the lead, unimpressively.

The other interruptions, from the twins and granddaughter Tayla, were fleeting and OK enough so as not to detract too much, but the audience wasn't so lucky with Ernest Ray, Lynn's 50-something son.

In the variety show tradition of classic country music, Ernie and Loretta spent most every song break yukking it up. But as staged as the idea was, mother and son clearly hadn't spent any time honing their act. They were obviously improvising, but in a way that seemed rooted in family dynamics, which meant that their hee-hawing was funny every once and a while, but mostly just awkward in an over-sharing kind of way. Nothing was helped by Ernie's seeming drunkenness either. If not for a shout-out to the Hogs for their performance against LSU and his fairly rich voice, which he leant to several duets with his mother (weird for their sexual undertones), Ernie might've gotten a tomato to the eye.

For Loretta, the audience soldiered through. A lot of white hairs dotted the crowd, but if those seated around me were any indication, it was a mixed audience. Just in my immediate vicinity were a middle-aged couple in matching Loretta Lynn T-shirts who appeared to be high on sherm, an old man who started eyeing his watch midway through the set, a young, hip-looking couple with earrings and scarves, and a lady of indiscriminate age who clapped continuously and arrhythmically, like a metronome a beat ahead of the song.

Maybe it wasn't everyone's dream concert. Lynn didn't play anything — at least anything I could identify — from her most recent album, “Van Lear Rose.” And the aforementioned dalliances. Still, you'd be hard-pressed to find another 73-year-old performer, who's been at it for 45 years, put on a show as strong as Lynn gave Saturday night.

Lindsey Millar
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Fritz Brantley

  • He talks, and talks, the talk

    A fellow posted an old newspaper article on his blog about a Mike Huckabee speech to a religious group in 1998. A friend faxed the article to me, then called to ask if I’d yet read it, which I had.
    • Dec 20, 2007
  • The incredible shrinking Huckabee

    Plus: COPS!
    • Dec 20, 2007
  • Going whole hog

    A Q&A with irreverent Arkansas-raised comedian Matt Besser
    • Dec 20, 2007
  • More »

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Music Reviews

  • Cher in North Little Rock

    March 28, Verizon Arena
    • Apr 3, 2014
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers at Verizon

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers took a slightly different musical path to its May induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame than most of their fellow honorees.
    • Oct 31, 2012
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 30

    The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra opened its season Saturday night with a return visit by the 28-year-old violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who had appeared with the orchestra in the Beethoven concerto two years ago.
    • Oct 3, 2012
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Fear 'It'self

    • Bill Skarsgrd comes from a family of actors and they were all born and raised…

    • on September 21, 2017
  • Re: Bumbling Bielema

    • The person named Allen with the canning co just filed bankruptcy, if any one is…

    • on September 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation