Country legend Loretta Lynn will likely be playing in front of a sell-out crowd tonight at the D&R Theatre in Aberdeen, but a few dozen tickets were available as of Wednesday afternoon, according to D&R officials.
For more than 50 years now, Lynn has fashioned a body of work as artistically and commercially successful — and as culturally significant — as any female performer in the history of country music. Her life story is a rags-to-riches tale familiar to pop, rock and country fans alike and made famous in the Oscar-winning film “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
The Country Music icon is reportedly on the last extended tour of her career. It will take Lynn to 31 stops, of which one is the D&R.
“She’s as big as anybody we’ve ever had here,” said D&R Theatre owner John Yonich. “She’s certainly as big as Bill Cosby, if not bigger.”
Grammy-nominated Chuck Mead will open the 7 p.m. show for Lynn. Mead is known as the co-founder of the honky-tonk group BR549, and has been hailed as “The Hillbilly Renaissance Man” for his successes as a songwriter, performer, producer and musical theater director.
Lynn has a long history with the state of Washington, according to her official biography.
Looking for a future that didn’t require her husband to work the mines, Lynn, a teen-age bride at the time, moved to the Northwest in 1951 when he found work in Custer. Loretta joined him in 1951. The following decade found Lynn a full-time mother — four kids by the time she began singing seriously in 1961. In her spare time, though, with her husband’s encouragement, she learned to play the guitar and began singing in the area. During one televised talent contest in Tacoma, hosted by Buck Owens, Lynn was spotted by Norm Burley who was so impressed he started Zero Records just to record her.
Before long, Loretta hit the road cross-country, stopping every time they spotted a country radio station to push her first Zero release, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” By the time they reached Nashville, the record was a minor hit and Loretta found work cutting demos for the publishing company of Teddy and Doyle Wilburn. One of these, Kathryn Fulton’s “Biggest Fool of All,” caught the ear of Decca Records producer Owen Bradley. He thought the song would be perfect for Brenda Lee, but the Wilburns worked a deal—you can have the song if you record Loretta. Soon, Loretta was in the studio cutting sides with Bradley, producer at the time not only for Lee but Patsy Cline, Bill Anderson, and Webb Pierce.
A little over 50 years later, Lynn has written more than 160 songs and released 70 albums. She has had 10 No. 1 albums and 16 No. 1 singles on the country charts. Lynn has won dozens of awards from many different institutions, including four Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, eight Broadcast Music Incorporated awards, 12 Academy of Country Music, eight Country Music Association and 26 fan-voted Music City News awards. She was the first woman in Country Music to receive a certified gold album for 1967’s “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)”
In 1972, Lynn was the first woman named “Entertainer of the Year” by the Country Music Association, and is one of six women to have received CMA’s highest award. She was named “Artist of the Decade” for the 1970s by the Academy of Country Music. Lynn was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. She was also the recipient of Kennedy Center Honors in 2003. Lynn is also ranked 65th on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll and was the first female country to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1977.
Again, she will be performing tonight at the D&R Theatre in Aberdeen.