Saturday, July 2, 2011
Tonight @ M&I Classic Rock Stage, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
Loretta Lynn has always been a country traditionalist at heart. She began her recording career in the early '60s, during a time when the genre's few female stars earned their fame by reaching a crossover audience. “At the time there weren't really any woman doing country music except for Kitty Wells,” Lynn recalled in an interview last year with the Shepherd. “Patsy Cline was going down the middle of the road, doing pop and country, and Wanda Jackson was in the middle of the road, too.” Lynn preferred hard-edged, meat-and-potatoes honky-tonk to glamorous crossover ballads, and it was in part because of that adherence to genre orthodoxy that she was able to take songwriting risks none of her peers dared. Using the traditional country sound to challenge traditional country values, she emerged as the genre's first feminist, not only standing up to her husband on hits like “Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind),” but also tackling elephant-in-the-room social issues, like birth control and the stigma facing divorced women.