The name alone is synonymous with country music. And when you think of Loretta, you think of America and all that it entails. Her story is really the story of the American Dream.
This week, this extraordinary woman will celebrate her 83rd birthday.
Loretta Lynn predates the women's movement. But it's doubtful she would have availed herself of it at the start of the movement or anytime between then and now. She didn't need the women's movement. She just put one foot in front of the other and went out and did it.
That's the mark of a true pioneer -- and honest-to-goodness trailblazer.
Here's a review we gave of a Loretta Lynn concert that we had the pleasure of experiencing in 2009:
On Friday evening we journeyed up to the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank to see country music legend Loretta Lynn in concert.Loretta appeared with 11 musicians including her son and twin daughters in a program that was at times inspiring, curious, and surprisingly spontaneous.Through it all, Loretta was Queenly in the sort of gown, makeup and jewelry that you'd expect from a country music great.For over four decades Loretta Lynn has fashioned a body of work as artistically and commercially successful—and as culturally significant—as any female performer you’d care to name. Her music has confronted many of 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—the tag refers to a hit single, an album, a best-selling autobiography, an Oscar-winning film, and to Lynn herself—has journeyed from the poverty of the Kentucky hills to Nashville superstardom to her current status as an honest-to-goodness American icon.Of course, Loretta Lynn will soon celebrate her 77th birthday. In 2006, Lynn underwent shoulder surgery after injuring herself in a fall. And since she's had back problems she sings part of her set seated in a comfortable chair.No matter. Because when the full-throated Loretta is performing one of her classic tunes there's no one quite like her, even now. She sang many fan favorites on Friday including [When You're Lookin At Me] You're Looking At Country, You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man, Don't Come Home 'A Drinkin [With Lovin On Your Mind], I'm A Honky Tonk Girl, The Pill, One More On The Way and of course Coal Miner's Daughter.Yes, there were times when this legendary country music sensation seemed all too human during her performance but she's still got the makings of a star and she kept the legend alive once more.The country music greats don't simply fade away. They keep doing what they do best: taking their shows on the road and performing just as they are. Loretta's still on the road with her bus, her family and her accompanists. That's what she does. That's who she is. And that's what makes country music stars genuine; that's what makes them country.No, we wouldn't have missed Loretta Lynn for the world.Because, when you're lookin at her, you really ARE looking at country!