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Loretta Lynn heading to Nevada casino

11 April 2011

RENO, Nevada -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Loretta Lynn, the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” whose American dream took her from the poverty of Butcher Hollow, Kentucky to country music superstardom, performs on Friday May 6, at 8 p.m. in the Celebrity Showroom of John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks.

Lynn began singing seriously in 1961. During one televised talent contest hosted by Buck Owens, she was spotted by Norm Burley who was so impressed he started Zero Records just to record her.

Before long, Loretta and her husband Doo 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. One of these, “Biggest Fool of All,” caught the ear of Decca Records producer Owen Bradley, producer at the time for Patsy Cline, Bill Anderson, and Webb Pierce.

Working with Bradley in Nashville, Lynn quickly fell under the musical spell of new friend Patsy Cline. Patsy’s distinctive style, marked by dramatic slides, growls and crescendos, was more modern and “pop” sounding, this style was reflected in Loretta’s first top ten hit “Success” in 1962.

Out of these influences, Lynn fashioned her own distinctive style, first perfected in the songs of other writers. In “Wine, Women, and Song,” “Happy Birthday,” and “Blue Kentucky Girl,” each a Top Ten hit in 1964.

Such hits were early hints of Loretta’s undeniably strong female point of view—a perspective unique at the time both to country music specifically and to pop music generally and a trend in her music that became further pronounced as she began to write more of her own songs.

The immense popularity of her songs, including straight-shooting hits like “Your Squaw Is on the Warpath,” “Women of the World (Leave My World Alone),” and “You’re Looking at Country,” culminated in 1972 when Lynn won her second Best Female Vocalist award from the Country Music Association—and when she became the first woman to win the CMA’s most prestigious award, Entertainer of the Year.

Through the next decade, Loretta scored more and more hits—and became more and more famous beyond her country base. In 1976, her autobiography (written with journalist George Vescey) became a New York Times Bestseller; in 1980 the book was made into a hit film starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. By the time of her last major hit—”I Lie,” in 1982— Lynn could count 52 Top 10 hits and 16 #1’s.

Loretta Lynn spent the ‘90s largely away from the spotlight, caring for her ailing husband Doo and, after he died in 1996, grieving his loss. The music scene has changed considerably in her absence but it’s also a scene she helped create.

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