By the Way

When Loretta Lynn brought Butcher Holler to Biloxi

By JEFF CLARK

jclark@sunherald.com

Loretta Lynn performs Friday night at Biloxi's IP Casino.
Loretta Lynn performs Friday night at Biloxi's IP Casino.

The people of the Gulf Coast love Loretta Lynn, who played a sold-out show Friday night at the IP Casino Resort. The show marked the 15th straight year the country icon has played on the Coast.

The Coal Miners, Lynn’s backup band, hit the stage first and did a few cover songs with her son Ernest (Ernie) Ray at the helm. The band had some issues Friday night, causing Lynn to restart several songs. But it just added to the live element of the show, and it was less distracting than you would think.

Lynn hit the stage to sing “They Don’t Make'em Like My Daddy” in a beautiful red dress.

At 84, Lynn looked and sounded like someone much younger. After her first number, she sat on a chair for most of the rest of her show, which included all of the songs one would expect such as “When the Tingle Becomes a Chill,” “Love is the Foundation” and “You’re Lookin’ at Country.”

She also played several of her old-school feminist hits, including “Fist City,” “The Pill” and the classic “You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man.”

Lynn told the audience several times Friday night that she had a sore throat and that her singing “didn’t sound good.” I think the majority of the audience thought Lynn sounded fine, as evident in the thunderous applause she received after each song. But it was hard to watch her become frustrated when she thought her singing was not at her best.

As a lifelong fan of all things Loretta Lynn, including the 1980 masterpiece and award-winning film “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” she was everything you would expect her to be -- charming, sweet and very funny.

She finished the show on her feet for a rousing rendition of “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which brought the audience to its feet.

I went to the show with my friends Angela and Mikael Tyrsen, who are in town from Los Angeles for a bit, though I’m hoping they will move back to Angela’s native Biloxi permanently.

The show was a first for all three of us, as we had never seen Lynn perform live before. And the Tyrsen's enjoyed the show from the center of the front row, which added to Angela's excitement.

We were discussing the good and bad of the show after it ended. We were all in accordance that it was honor to have seen Lynn while she’s still performing.

And Angela said it best: “I would listen to Loretta Lynn read names from the phone book.”

So would I. I hope I have the opportunity to see her again.

-- Jeff Clark is a staff writer for the Sun Herald.

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