Feisty, funny and sweetly nostalgic, Loretta Lynn celebrated her 85th birthday with the first show of a two-night stand at Nashville's renowned Ryman Auditorium, where she was joined onstage by family members, including sisters Crystal Gayle and Peggy Sue Wright, and surprise guest Martina McBride, whom the legendary entertainer called "my closest friend in country music." McBride presented the birthday girl with a bouquet of yellow roses and joined in on a couple of songs.
The two-hour show was as much a loving, humor-filled tribute to
The guest of honor took the stage after an opening number by her longtime band, the Coal Miners, opened with "Okie From Muskogee" as well as musical tributes to their "Mee-maw" from granddaughter Tayla Lynn and great-granddaughter Emmy Rose Lynn, who explained that her great-grandmother has gifted her with the guitar she used to write "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)" and "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)." "I'm a senior in high school," she said. "I almost had a heart attack."
Lynn then took to the stage to a rousing ovation and got right down to business, opening with the tribute to her coal-miner father, "They Don't Make 'Em Like My Daddy Anymore," followed by vintage Seventies hits, "You're Lookin' at Country," "When the Tingle Becomes a Chill" and "I Wanna Be Free." Once she spoke to the crowd, she joked, "I don't know what's wrong with you all, it ain't my birthday," and insisted she was 26 years old, a claim easily backed up by her robust voice, if not her occasional lapses in memory. "I could work any 26[-year-old] girl under the table any time," she proclaimed, going on to affect a slow girlish voice. "You know what I think? I think girls are getttin' lazy. 'I can't sing a whole show.' If they were like me and they had to sing, they'd sing."
Seated throughout the nearly two-hour show and wearing a pillowy blue dress, she noted that the glittering gown was "about three miles too big for me." Between songs,
Calling the Ryman Auditorium "my favorite place,"
Early on, the audience spontaneously began serenading
Fan favorites, including "One's on the Way," "The Pill," "Fist City," "Blue Kentucky Girl" and "You're Lookin' at Country," plus fun, impromptu tunes including "Tippy Toein'" and "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" were among the nearly dozen Lynn performed with charm and gusto throughout the night. And, naturally, she closed the evening with her signature song, "Coal Miner's Daughter," before exiting the stage that was integral to her early success and today remains a solid reminder of her enduring legacy.
Here's the set list for Lynn and guest's show:
"Bad Mrs. Leroy Brown" (Tayla Lynn)
"Unwinding the Strings (Emmy Rose Lynn)
"They Don't Make 'Em Like My Daddy Anymore"
"You're Lookin' at Country"
"When the Tingle Becomes a Chill"
"I Wanna Be Free"
"You Ain't Woman Enough (to Take My Man)"
"Love Is the Foundation"
"I'm a Honky Tonk Girl"
"You Ain't Woman Enough (to Take My Man)" (with Martina McBride)
"I Saw the Light" (with Martina McBride)
"She's Got You"
"One's on the Way"/"The Pill"
"Everything It Takes"
"Wouldn't It Be Great"
"Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" (with Peggy Sue Wright)
"Put Your Hand in the Hand"/"Amazing Grace"/"I Saw the Light"/"Tippy Toein'"/"Fist City"/"Put It Off Until Tomorrow" (with Crystal Gayle and Peggy Sue Wright)
"God Bless America Again"/"Lead Me On" (with Coal Miners' band member Bart Hansen)
"I'm Dyin' for Someone to Live For" (with Shawn Camp)
"Your Squaw Is on the Warpath"
"Coal Miner's Daughter" (with Crystal Gayle and Peggy Sue Wright)