In Pictures: Loretta Lynn Gets All-Star Birthday Tribute

Keith Urban greets Loretta Lynn during Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert at Bridgestone Arena on April 1, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

When it was originally announced that many in country music’s ranks would celebrate Loretta Lynn’s upcoming 87th birthday with an all-star bash at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, the Coal Miner’s Daughter herself joked that she wished country star Keith Urban would jump out of a birthday cake for her.

No joke, that moment happened Monday evening (April 1) as the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year honored Lynn by climbing out of a blue cake onstage and wishing her a happy birthday.

“Miss Loretta—you asked me to jump out of a cake for you—and I would do it again every time!” Urban later shared on social media. “Thank you for a truly surreal and gorgeous night of music, heart, stories, magic, and LOVE!!!!!”

Musically, there were a number of highlights. Urban sat at a piano to perform Lynn’s “Blue Kentucky Girl.” Darius Rucker was game to take on Lynn’s controversial 1975 hit “The Pill,” while Cam sounded at once delicate and defiant on “Rated X.”

Cam performs onstage for Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert at Bridgestone Arena on April 1, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

“Tonight, I want you to enjoy every standing ovation, because it’s all for you,” said Cam, who also hosted the event. “We’re all here to celebrate and thank this great lady for making a much better, much more beautiful and much more truthful place for the last 87 years, and we hope for many more to come.”

Lynn’s inspiration and influence on most of today’s female country artists was palpable, as Miranda Lambert performed Lynn’s first No. 1 single, 1966’s “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind),” before joining her Pistol Annies sisters Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe for a rendition of “Fist City.”

Kacey Musgraves offered “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man),” while the newly-formed group The Highwomen (including Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, and Amanda Shires) welcomed Natalie Hemby for lush four-part harmonies on “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.”

Carlile’s soaring, supple voice was a pleasure as she offered a rendering of “She’s Got You,” recorded by Lynn’s late friend and singer Patsy Cline. Brandy Clark offered a sterling rendition of “You’re Looking At Country.”

Tanya Tucker brought out a bouquet of flowers after a performance of “While I’m Living” with Carlile.

Pictured (L-R): Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby perform onstage for Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert at Bridgestone Arena. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Many of Lynn’s classics were collaborations with duet partners including Conway Twitty, and the evening’s tributes were filled with tasteful pairings. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood performed “After The Fire Is Gone,” while Alan Jackson and Lee Ann Womack offered a rousing take on “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” Jackson brought Lynn a single yellow rose in a Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle, calling the offering “a perfect example of country music.”

The applause in the arena was thunderous as George Strait took the stage, for his own “Amarillo By Morning.” Martina McBride opened the concert with Lynn’s debut single from 1960 “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl.” Together, Strait and McBride performed “Lead Me On” later in the show.

John Carter Cash and Ana Cristina Cash offered “Keep On The Sunny Side,” while Lynn’s half-sister Crystal Gayle collaborated with Peggy Sue on “Sparking Look of Love.” Gayle then presented her signature “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”

Jack White and Margo Price perform onstage for Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images

In 2005, Lynn earned her second Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Collaboration, for the track “Portland, Oregon,” with Jack White. White was on hand last night to perform the track with Margo Price, before he also offered the Lynn-penned “Have Mercy.” Price, who is eight months pregnant, said she was giving her daughter the middle name Lynn, also sang “One’s On the Way.”

The evening closed Lynn leading the way in a traditional “all-sing” on the living legend’s signature “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Lynn turns 87 on April 14.

Alan Jackson and Lee Ann Womack perform onstage for Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images

Miranda Lambert performs onstage for Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Alan Jackson greets Loretta Lynn during Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images

Brandy Clark performs onstage for Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Pictured: Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lynn, Dann Huff and Crystal Gayle perform onstage for Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

 

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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