The First Lady of Country Music, Loretta Lynn, joined by country legend Randy Travis, are the first nationally known music artists to bring an old-school country twang to downtown Aurora’s new RiverEdge Park this Saturday.
Gates open to Chicagoland’s newest outdoor concert venue at 5 p.m. The concert begins at 7 p.m.
With 50 years under her cowgirl belt, Loretta Lynn has earned the title First Lady of Country Music. With 16 Number One hits, including “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “Fist City” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” this queen of country music forged the way for strong, independent women in country music, ruling the country charts during the ’60s and ’70s and racking up over 70 hits as a solo artist and a duet partner.
As told by her song (and movie and book), Lynn is a coal miner’s daughter, born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, in 1932. In January 1949, she married Oliver “Mooney” Lynn. She was 13 years old at the time.
After a decade raising four children, Lynn began performing her own songs and singing in local clubs. In 1960, she released her debut single, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” The ballad became a hit thanks to the insistent, independent promotion of Lynn and her husband.
She moved to Nashville, signed with Decca Records, and released her first Decca single, “Success,” in 1962. It went straight to number six, beginning a string of Top Ten singles. Beginning with 1966’s number two hit “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” Lynn began writing songs that had a feminist viewpoint.
Her lyrical stance became more autobiographical and realistic as time wore on, highlighted by such hits as “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” (1966), “Your Squaw Is on the Warpath” (1968), “Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone)” (1969), and “The Pill” (1974).
Between 1966 and 1970, Lynn racked up 13 Top Ten hits, including four number one hits — “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’,” “Fist City” (1968), “Woman of the World,” and the autobiographical “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1970). In 1971, she began a professional partnership with Conway Twitty.
As a duo, Lynn and Twitty had five consecutive number one hits between 1971 and 1975 — “After the Fire Is Gone” (1971), “Lead Me On” (1971), “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” (1973), “As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone” (1974), and “Feelins'” (1974).
Lynn published her autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter, in the mid-’70s. In 1980, the book was adapted for the screen, with Sissy Spacek as Loretta and Tommy Lee Jones as Doo. By the time of her last major hit – “I Lie,” in 1982 – Lynn could count 52 Top 10 hits and 16 #1’s.
She spent the ’90s largely away from the spotlight, caring for her ailing husband and, after Doo died in 1996, grieving his loss.
But she came back again with a 2000 CD titled “Still Country.” She was honored at the Kennedy Center in 2003, yet pushed forward again the following year by winning two Grammy Awards for “Van Lear Rose,” a collaboration with rocker Jack White. She was inducted into the national Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York in 2008.
She may have won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, but Loretta Lynn’s life is still a work in progress. She’s still out there on the road, still writing songs and still recording them as only she can. For more information, visit lorettalynn.com.
Who better to accompany Loretta than Randy Travis, the country music legend who has sold over 25 million records and earned 22 No. One hits, six No. 1 albums, six Grammy awards and numerous others, plus a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
A pivotal figure in the history of country music, Travis broke through in the mid-1980s with the release of his album “Storms of Life” on Warner Bros. Records.
The album sold more than 3 million copies and also established him as a neotraditionalist country act. It was followed by a string of several more platinum and multi-platinum albums throughout his career.
As if that’s not enough, Travis has made history again by collaborating with some of the top names in country music for his new Anniversary Celebration album – including “Road to Surrender” with Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson; “Forever and Ever, Amen” with Zac Brown Band; “Is It Still Over” with Carrie Underwood; “Can’t Hurt a Man” with Tim McGraw and “Everything and All” with Brad Paisley – to name a few. For more information, visit randytravis.com.
Tickets are $45 general admission; $55 reserved seats. Tickets are on sale at RiverEdgeAurora.com, via phone at 630.896.6666, and at the RiverEdge box office any day that RiverEdge is hosting a concert or event, beginning at 10 a.m.
RiverEdge Park is located at 360 North Broadway, steps away from downtown Aurora, directly across from the Metra station, on the east bank of the Fox River.
The nearby Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Boulevard, also serves as a satellite box office for RiverEdge. Paramount summer box office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Coming up at RiverEdge—RiverEdge Park’s inaugural summer season continues with Bruce in the USA and Fox Valley Orchestra with post- concert Fireworks (July 4); Color Vibe 5K Race (July 6); Trace Adkins, Aaron Lewis, Blackberry Smoke and Drake White (July 13); Idina Menzel (July 19); The Tragically Hippresented by Two Brothers Brewing Co (July 20); and the Aurora Puerto Rican 42nd Heritage Festival (July 27 & 28).
Also, Sing-a-long-a Grease Movie in the Park (Aug. 9); Sail Rock featuring Christopher Cross, Orleans, Gary Wright, Firefall, John Ford Coley, Robbie Dupree and Player (Aug. 10); Peter Frampton’s Guitar Circus with Peter Frampton, B.B. King and Sonny Landreth (Aug. 16); The Pink Floyd Experience (Aug. 17); tween sensations Bridgit Mendler and R5 (Aug. 18); Joan Sebastian and Ramon Ayala (Sept. 13); and Fiestas Patrias Aurora 2013 (Sept. 14-15).
Almost all RiverEdge Park events allow folding chairs and bag chairs for general admission ticket holders. For preferred general admission bench seating, guests are encouraged to bring a padded seat cushion for added comfort. Food and drink are available for purchase inside RiverEdge Park.
Concessions at RiverEdge offer a diversified menu from official food vendor Two Brothers Roundhouse, along with a bar featuring Two Brothers’ craft beers, wine, sodas, bottled water and more.
No outside food or drink (except water) is allowed in the park during events.
Concerts take place rain or shine, unless conditions endanger the safety of artists and the public. Concertgoers may call the RiverEdge Park WeatherLine at (630) 723-2478 to check the status of a concert if inclement weather is pending.
For tickets and information, visit RiverEdgeAurora.com or call the RiverEdge box office, (630) 896-6666.
About RiverEdge Park— Chicagoland’s newest live outdoor entertainment venue is inspired by outdoor entertainment facilities in Chicago’s Millennium Park and Northerly Island, and Milwaukee’s Summerfest.
RiverEdge Park is anchored by the contemporary John C. Dunham performance pavilion, which boasts state-of-the-art acoustics, flexible seating allowing for up to 2,500 seats in front of the stage, general admission for 6,000-8,000, plus a rooftop deck that hosts up to 300 VIPs, for total capacity of 8,500-10,500.
The entire 2013 RiverEdge Season is sponsored by The Dunham Fund, City of Aurora and Paramount Arts Center Endowment.
The RiverEdge Park project was constructed by the City of Aurora through a combination of grants and donations from the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Fox Valley Park District, and The Dunham Fund.
RiverEdge Park is managed and programmed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA), which also oversees operations for Aurora’s historic Paramount Theatre.
ACCA has established a track record of attracting audiences to downtown Aurora, with annual attendance at the Paramount Theatre having grown from 55,000 in 2010, to more than 200,000 for the recent 2012-2013 season.