Loretta Lynn: 83 and Still Acting Up

Asks for “Holler Outs” at SXSW

Loretta Lynn makes me want to be 83.

I spend so much of my days (and to be honest, most of my nights) fighting the inevitable aging process. But, damn, she makes it look so good.

Growing older hasn’t just made her wiser. Not that she’s ever been accused of being a wallflower, but aging has made her even funnier, sassier and, in a way, sexier.

Because when you look at Lynn, you don’t think, “Aw. Look at that little old lady.” You think, “She’s how old?”

That’s what I thought when I read the reviews of her show at last week’s South by Southwest music festival in Texas.

The Country Music Hall of Fame member drew a huge crowd for her performance at the BBC’s showcase at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin. And it sounds like she knew just what the crowd wanted to hear, because she asked for it.

“Well, whatever you wanna hear, holler it out. If I don’t know it, you can come up here and sing it yourself,” Lynn said. One guy requested her 1968 hit “Fist City.”

“Fist City? OK,” Lynn said, and off she went. She also played a too-short set list of other hits the fans asked for, like “You’re Lookin’ at Country,” “When a Tingle Becomes a Chill,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man,” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Then when a fan requested something off her new album Full Circle, she decided on “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven.” But her band wasn’t quite ready. Lynn just rolled her eyes until they caught on.

“You better listen to me, or y’all gonna be playing for someone else next week,” she told them, adding to the crowd, “You’ve never seen me come to Texas and not act up.”

Attitude like that is sexy, no matter how many birthdays you’ve had.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.