Friday, April 24th
The Palladium, Carmel
I don’t recall a time when I didn’t know a few Loretta Lynn songs, thanks to my mother. While most country music makes me cringe, Loretta is a legend, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to see her while I still can.
The night began with Walker County, a young sister duo from Sulpher Springs, Indiana, who opened with a six-song set. Their rich harmonies at times evoked Swedish folk rock sisters First Aid Kit or even country version of Lily and Madeleine. All owe a debt of gratitude, in some way, to the night’s headliner.
Loretta’s set began not with her, but with five songs divided among her son and twin daughters, The Lynns. Arriving on stage with “They don’t make ‘em like daddy anymore”, she blew through a set focused on '60s and '70s classics like “You’re looking at country”, “One’s On the Way” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough (to take my man)”. Her onstage banter was a page straight out of Hee-Haw
, trading quips with her son throughout the show, and quickly retorting to a request for her most famous song with, “never heard of it." Before performing “Honky Tonk Girl," her very first single on Zero Records, she joked that it was appropriate that the song was on that label because that’s exactly what she earned – zero!
Though she sang only 18 of the 26 songs in the set (featuring not one song from her Jack White produced Van Lear Rose
), she sounded far better than should be expected from any 83 year-old. Sure, the dress might be a bit garish and her country girl demeanor may not appeal to everyone, but by the end of the final song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, it was clear that she’s still a force to be reckoned with.