Loretta Lynn Mines More Than Coal At Bonnaroo

by JA SOURCE JA / YouTube
Photo Credit: John Partipilo/The Tennessean

Loretta Lynn earned a rapturous reception Saturday afternoon (June 11) at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, proving you don't have to be the Next Big Thing to draw an adoring crowd at the eclectic, four-day event southeast of Nashville.

The 76-year-old Country Music Hall of Fame member, Loretta Lynn and her band performed just as the sun was starting to set, with hundreds of fans huddled under an awning known as That Tent. For the first time on a dusty, scorching day, the sun dipped low enough to offer some relief, so music fans could give their undivided attention to one of America's true musical treasures.

At the mere mention of Conway Twitty's name, the crowd screamed like crazy -- not exactly what you'd expect at Bonnaroo. Lynn and Hanson sang a sped-up version of "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," then got part of the way into "Lead Me On" until Lynn sang the last line where the chorus should have been. When the band got temporarily flummoxed, she shrugged it off and told them, "That's it. I'm tired of this song."

Then, Lynn sang the first song she wrote, "Honky Tonk Girl," which was released as her first single in 1960. After the applause, Lynn remarked that she had invited Jack White, who produced her 2004 album, Van Lear Rose, to come onstage with her. This was met with the kind of response you'd get by telling a kindergarten class that Santa Claus was standing in the hallway. However, Lynn added that White stood her up, and if he had been there, he would've already been onstage.

"He can't stand not to sing," she teased, saying that he doesn't even know when to leave the stage so she can play her own show.

Lynn's feisty nature is well-suited to cheatin' and revenge songs like "Your Squaw Is on the Warpath." After she sang that one, she told the audience, "I wrote that about my husband. He never did listen to it, either." As a songwriter, she continued to exhibit her range with the heartbreaking "Dear Uncle Sam" and the defiant "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)." If you've ever argued that modern audiences don't care for the legends, the adoration in this show would have proved you completely wrong.