If they made a Mount Rushmore for country music, founding fathers such as Hank Williams and George Jones would have to make room for a few ladies, too.
One of the obvious choices is Loretta Lynn, who persevered through obvious pain to deliver an entertaining assortment of her classic hits for a packed house on Friday at the Peabody in Daytona Beach.
Lynn, 81, sustained three broken ribs in an accident at her home on Aug. 31, causing her to re-schedule some shows, but not the Daytona Beach performance. Already known as the first lady of country music, Lynn could add the title of most resilient, too.
Adorned in a glittering pink, floor-length gown that looked like something atop a wedding cake, Lynn kept her smile intact as she belted out “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like My Daddy Anymore,” the first in a 65-minute string of her country classics.
They don’t make country songs like this anymore, either.
Lynn’s lyrics pull no punches, whether it comes to dealing with the irresponsible husband in “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” or the full-house comedy of “One’s On the Way.” Two of her six children – daughter Peggy Lynn and son Ernest Ray – were singing in the 9-piece band.
Although Lynn frequently reached with her hand toward her injured ribs and took a seat in front of the band by the show’s midway point, her vocals suffered only slightly because of the pain. It obviously didn’t affect her sassy demeanor, apparent from the opening moments when she stopped the show to re-arrange a few band members.
“Charlie, bring that thing over here,” she said to pedal steel guitar player Charlie Archer, a former member of Conway Twitty’s band.
Nor was the audience spared her opinion:
“You can holler it out,” she said in reaction to shouted song requests, “but that don’t mean I’m gonna sing it.”
It was hard to argue with the ones that she did sing, a list that included “You’re Looking at Country,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man),” “Fist City,” “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” a gorgeous version of Patsy Cline’s classic “She’s Got You” and a few gospel ditties.
In the end, Lynn linked arms with her children to sing the obligatory “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” a reminder of the hard-scrabble roots of country’s first lady.
There’s no way a few broken ribs could stop her.