REVIEW: Loretta Lynn at the Winspear Sunday

I hadn’t invested much time into the lore of Loretta Lynn. I’m a fan of her music, I had seen Coal Miner’s Daughter and applauded her reinvention with Jack White for 2004′s Van Lear Rose. But I did not expect the spectacle of her Sunday night show at the Winspear — and by spectacle, I mean her lavender, bedazzled gown. That thing was a show in itself with its flared out skirt and shoulder pads. Oh, those shoulder pads. Fortunately, someone got a great pic of it.

Gown or not, Loretta Lynn showed why she is the legend that she is. Short and sweet, Lynn managed to jam-pack a career of songs into I’d say less than an hour, and yet, the show was overly satisfying. Mostly singing her classics like “You’re Looking at Country,” “She’s Got You” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man,” she delivered crystal clear vocals against a rich backdrop provided by her very able band. She did shorten some of her tunes to lead into others, but I can’t say I ever felt cheated. The enthusiasm by her fans was contagious. The people around me lost their shit as a big hit bellowed from her microphone and it was both endearing and fascinating to watch.

Lynn sat down after a couple of songs due to her new “titanium knee” and held court with her gown spread out and mic in hand. She never overdid anything and in true diva fashion, she let the band and the audience simply watch her sing and chat. The audience kept shouting out songs they wanted her to sing or mentioned their meemaw’s birthday and none of it shook her. Her game was on and she made it look like it was a breeze. After all these decades of performing, perhaps it was.

Her daughters performed as openers and they sounded fine, but her son, Ernie Lynn was the worst part of the night. At least the daughters inherited good voices, the son did not. He and LL’s backing band, The Coalminers, opened the show with a couple of covers like “Slow Hand,” that did not set any bar high. His scraggly voice and bad stage presence was quickly forgotten thanks to a more inspired showing by his sisters.

As if to make it worse, he chimed in during much of Lynn’s banter with the audience and embarrassingly so. He mentioned trying to find a girlfriend and creepily admitted to his likeness of Taylor Swift. Yuk. Apparently, this is nothing new.

But LL was magic overall and nothing could eclipse what she delivered Sunday night. Although she didn’t do an encore, the audience about fell out when she finished with “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and reminded us of greatness.

Watch a small video clip by ATTPAC live tweeter Brad Ehney (@got80s) after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

ALBUM REVIEW: New releases from Nightwish, Anthony Green and Expensive Looks

Three vastly different releases run the gamut from symphonic metal to chillwave bliss

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Imaginaerum
Nightwish
Roadrunner Records

Initially, I thought major yawn factor when I heard that Finnish band’s seventh album is a conceptual release based on an old composer at death’s door. To add to that, it’s an accompaniment (not a soundtrack) to a film of the same name comprised of similar themes. Heavy.

Gladly, I misjudged, because they churn out a sort of heavy metal opera that’s only Meat Loaf could dream of. The operatic quality is exploded with a heavy guitar assaults and rapid drum smashes. But in all that thrust, the songs are constructed tightly keeping its themes right on course. Singer Anette Olzon sometimes gets outta control with her Abba-esque vocalizing, but the album has a linear quality that kept me interested the entire way through.

Minus the reasoning behind the album, it’s simply a grand listen. Even without lyrics, Nightwish pulls off a coherent and conclusive song cycle that’s headbanging, quirky and epic.

Three stars

Watch “Storytime”

Beautiful Things
Anthony Green
WEA Creative & Design Group

Indie rocker and Circa Surive singer Anthony Green is back with his second full-length solo of garagey rock and 20something angst. The album opens fine with “If I Don’t Sing,” an OK rocker that isn’t groundbreaking. But second track “Do It Right” is a full-out mess of handclaps and acapella. His voice is too harsh for this kind of singing and really just hurts the ears. And the album’s lead single “Get Yours While You Can,” displays no real soul to it other than maybe for some good drumming. Otherwise, he could use a Sucrets.

At times, Green is just too whiney that you just wanna smack the shit out of him. But in other tracks, he grows up nicely as in “Get Yours While You Can.” Overall, he doesn’t deliver much new that Jack White hasn’t already given us with much more depth. Green has a long way to go.

Two stars.

Listen to “Get Yours While You Can”

Dark Matters
Expensive Looks
Group Tightener

For a kid who taught himself to DJ and the move into producing, Alec Feld’s debut album as Expensive Looks is a big time knock out. The electronic music he creates play as complex symphonies in as little as a 1:49. With much of the same sophistication Washed Out displayed in last year’s Within and Without, Feld does the same, but with some dancey undertones. Yet, it’s never obnoxious with overdone production and bass beats, nor does it come off as self-indulgent.

The album has its specific tone of dreamy disco but tracks tend to run together. I couldn’t tell you the difference between say tracks two and five, but as a whole, it’s a collective breath of relief that works a whole lot of magic just over half an hour.

Surprisingly Feld describes the album as “confusion and constant bipolar shifts all for the pursuit of happiness. I kill for euphoria and use it as a venue to get that polar-shifting depressive state across. This isn’t about me not being happy; it’s more about my frustration with the pursuit of happiness.”

And yet, in all its originality and focus, it’s pure bliss to listen to.

Four stars

Listen to “Moving Visions”
Expensive Looks – Moving Visions by Group Tightener

—  Rich Lopez

Chatting up the Secret Sisters before tonight’s benefit for The Women’s Chorus of Dallas

Tonight, the Secret Sisters headline The Southern Harmony Party at the Lakewood Theater, which also features local band The King Bucks and Audrey Dean Kelley. The night benefits The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, a very gay-friendly organization. In a recent interview with Dallas Voice, real-life sisters Lydia and Laura of the Secret Sisters talked up their connection with the gay community and how growing up Church of Christ never stopped them from accepting people as they are:

So first, how did you get hooked up with The Women’s Chorus of Dallas? We were playing a show in Birmingham, AL several months ago, and met a really nice promoter named De Foster, who loved our sound and was determined to have us play a show in Dallas.  We agreed that we would love to come there and play, and so not long afterwards, he contacted us about playing a show that would benefit the Women’s Chorus.  We love playing shows that are in conjunction with positive organizations, and especially those that are connected to our favorite hobby:  music.  So when we got the invitation to play, we were thrilled!  We are so excited to meet everyone involved with the chorus, and very excited that the focus of the evening will be on women and music.  We both feel that there just aren’t enough strong women in the music industry, and we know that the evening will be positive one, that’s also a lot of fun.

What do such groups mean to you? Any time that we can use our music to highlight organizations that do good things, we are eager to do so. Both of us were in our high school choruses when we were younger, and we know just how much fun it is to be surrounded by your friends, enjoying music that you are making together.  Music means so much to us, and to be able to spend the evening with others who are passionate about it as well is going to be an honor.  We’ve been looking forward to this show for a while now.

More after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez