A review of Loretta Lynn at the Emerald Queen Casino, Oct. 26, 2012.

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Concert Review |

Despite her fondness for glittery gowns, Loretta Lynn is still very much a coal miner’s daughter with a honky-tonk heart.

Performing Friday night at the Emerald Queen Casino’s I-5 Tacoma Showroom, the still-graceful, 80-year-old country music icon kept her fans enthralled with classic songs, homespun humor and apple-pie patriotism.

Though ticket prices ran as high as $195 a person, the 3,500-seat concert venue was packed for a show celebrating Lynn’s more than 50 years as a country singer, remarkable in an era of flavor-of-the-month hit-makers.

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After a brief set by twin daughters Patsy and Peggy Lynn, Loretta Lynn kicked off the show with such traditional favorites as “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like My Daddy,” “You’re Looking at Country” and “When the Tingle Becomes a Chill.” She was backed by her eight-member band, The Coalminers, whose members served as duet partners and backup singers.

Lynn, who recorded her first hit, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” in 1960 while living in Washington State, made several references to her 14 years in the Northwest, saying, “It’s good to be back home.”

She sang a tender, wistful “Here I Am Again” as a tribute to those years. And several members of the Puyallup Tribe, which operates the casino, presented her with a handmade blanket to commemorate the show.

Lynn also told amusing stories about her stormy relationship with late husband Oliver “Mooney” Lynn, who died in 1996. The trials of their marriage were expressed in such songs as “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man,” “Your Squaw Is on the Warpath” and “Don’t Come Home a-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).”

Lynn articulated her unabashed patriotism in “God Bless America Again,” while “The Pill” (recorded in 1975) reminded concertgoers of her willingness to be slyly controversial at a time when country music was not.

Lynn closed her 90-minute set with her signature song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” but it was performed without much drama or fanfare.

Opening the concert was Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys, a rambunctious, four-piece retro country band led by singer, guitarist and founding member of Nashville country group BR5-49.

The band’s entertaining set included songs from Mead’s 2009 solo album, “Journeyman’s Wager,” as well as a few gems from the BR5-49 catalog.

Gene Stout: gene@genestout.com

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