Loretta Lynn, Randy Travis & Holly Williams to Play RiverEdge, 6/29


The First Lady of Country Music, Loretta Lynn, joined by country legend Randy Travis, and Holly Williams, daughter and granddaughter of Hank Williams Jr. and Sr., are the first nationally known music artists to bring an old-school country twang to downtown Aurora's new RiverEdge Park, Saturday, June 29.

Gates open to Chicagoland's newest outdoor concert venue at 5:30 p.m. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. 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.

Aurora's new 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 beautiful 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.

With 50 years under her cowgirl belt, Loretta Lynn has undoubtedly 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.