One of the first ladies of country music, Loretta Lynn, will peform Nov. 15 at the Community Arts Center. But don't call Loretta Lynn a legend or a star. "I ain't a star - a star is something up in the night sky," said Lynn. "People say to me, 'You're a legend.' I'm not a legend. I'm just a woman."
2010 marked the 50th anniversary of Loretta's arrival on the music scene with her 1960 debut single, "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl." Lynn signed her first recording contract on Feb. 1, 1960, and within a matter of weeks, she was at her first recording session.
"To make it in this business, you either have to be first, great or different," says Lynn. "And I was the first to ever go into Nashville, singin' it like the women lived it."
Loretta Lynn will perform Nov. 15 at the Community Arts Center.
Loretta is a songwriter like no other, with a distinctive body of work. In lyrics such as "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin'" and "Your Squaw Is on the War Path," she refused to be any man's doormat.
She challenged female rivals in "You Ain't Woman Enough" and "Fist City." She showed tremendous blue-collar pride in "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "You're Lookin' at Country." She is unafraid of controversy, whether the topic is sex ("Wings Upon Your Horns"), divorce ("Rated X"), alcohol ("Wouldn't It Be Great"), war ("Dear Uncle Sam"), or "The Pill," her celebration of sexual liberation, which were among some of her songs to be banned by many radio stations.
"She's the spokesman for the ladies," observed the late producer Owen Bradley at Decca Records. "Loretta had a lot of different ideas, and they were very fresh. Women's lib was also coming on at that time. You have to be in the right place at the right time. And I think Loretta was standing right there."
In 1967, she began picking up various Female Vocalist of the Year trophies. The industry showered her with BMI songwriting honors, Gold record plaques, a Grammy Award and other accolades. In 1972, she became the first woman in history to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year trophy.
Loretta continued to dominate the charts as the '70s drew to a close, scoring major hits with 1976's "Somebody Somewhere," 1977's "Out of My Head and Back in My Bed" and 1979's "I've Got a Picture of Us on My Mind." Her 1982 smash hits "I Lie" and "Making Love from Memory" carried her into the new decade.
One of the most remarkable things about Lynn is the way she renews her creativity time and again. Two years after she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983, she was back on the charts with the hit, "Heart Don't Do This to Me." In 1988, the year she entered the Country Music Hall of Fame, Loretta recorded with k.d. lang. She earned a gold record in 1994 with Honky Tonk Angels, a trio CD with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.
In 2000 she returned to the concert trail after the release of her CD titled "Still Country."
"It's a good thing, too," she said. "Because if I hadn't, I would have been nuts by now. I would have been completely nuts."
Loretta published a second memoir, "Still Woman Enough," in 2002. She was honored at the Kennedy Center in 2003, yet pushed forward again the following year by winning two Grammy Awards for Van Lear Rose, a collaboration with rocker Jack White. Also in 2004, she published a book of recipes and anecdotes titled "You're Cookin' It Country."
She was inducted into the national Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York in 2008. She may have won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, but Lynn's life is still a work in progress. She's still out there on the road, still writing songs and still recording them as only she can.
Tickets to the concert are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.caclive.com or at the box office located at 220 W. Fourth St. To order by phone, call 570-326-2424 or 800-432-9382.