Get ready for ladies night, dignified and countrified

by Alison Bonaguro
Special to the Tribune

(Published March 14, 2008


What kind of country are you? Straight-up tunes belted out by an uninhibited voice? Or the kind of sound that's the birthright of a lady raised in a cabin in Butcher Holler

Trisha Yearwood and Loretta Lynn are going head-to-head Saturday in the 'burbs. And if you love country, it's going to be a tough call. Knowing what to expect might help you find the country queen right for you.

Loretta Lynn, in a call from her Tennessee home, reveals how she treats her fans: By taking requests. "I've got news. They don't hang on for life if you don't treat 'em right," she said. "What I do is I entertain the crowd. I don't try to entertain myself."

So while fans holler out suggestions from her fat catalog of classics, such as her debut single, "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," and "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," Lynn and her Coal Miners band will play along with the crowd-made set list.

Playing live still is tough for this musical icon. "Honey, when I walk out on stage, I'm just plain old me," she says. "I still get nervous. When you quit getting nervous, you just need to quit."

If you go, be sure to request "Coal Miner's Daughter." The 1970 autobiographical song went to No. 1 for a reason: It was a revealing look at a tough life that many have never experienced. Selling a hog to buy shoes, washing clothes until your fingers bled. But what continues to set the tune apart is that you only hear pride in Lynn's voice when she sings about her humble beginnings in Kentucky.

Just north of Lynn's Joliet show, Trisha Yearwood will take the stage in Aurora. Lynn loves Yearwood, and talks about a necklace that Garth Brooks, Yearwood's husband, gave her."It's nice," she says. "But I thought, doggone, she got the man and I got the necklace."

Yearwood wishes she could see Lynn's show. "I love her. She takes younger artists under her wing, and always knows what I've been up to," she says.But Yearwood has her own show to do.

"My shows are relaxed. It's an environment where I can talk to the audience about songs and songwriters," she says.

She wasn't always this calm, though. "I used to be scared of audiences. Now I love going onstage. It's all about musicianship and vocals. No gimmicks. No over-analyzing."

She also stays focused on why she makes music.

"I stay true to songs I believe in," says Yearwood, who made her debut 17 years ago.

So if you go, you'll hear her passion in way-back hits such as "She's in Love With the Boy" and "Perfect Love." It still comes through today.


A coal miner's daughter with 45 years of hits

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet

Price: $36.50-$66.50; 312-559-1212


A country queen with a down-home heart

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Price: $60-$70; 312-559-1212

---------- onthetown@tribune.com

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