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Loretta Lynn stands tall at ACL Live

Peter Mongillo, Music Source

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Knee surgery forced Loretta Lynn to postpone a September date at ACL Live last year, but the 76-year-old grand dame of country stood for nearly her entire hourlong set Friday night.

Despite a cold that had her sniffling most of the night and perhaps tired her out a bit, Loretta Lynn performed like the music legend she is Friday night at ACL Live, delivering a mostly rousing set to a crowd full of fans that probably would have been satisfied with much less.

One thing that's clear: Lynn is tough. Friday's show was originally planned for September, but Lynn had to reschedule because of knee surgery. She canceled some shows on her tour after that because of illness (and she had canceled a performance at Rodeo Austin earlier in 2011 also because of illness). Introduced as the first country music star to have a motion picture made about her life, the 76-year-old singer took the stage in a long-sleeve, blue-sequined dress after her nine-piece band and her daughter Peggy warmed up the crowd. Lynn stood through nearly the entire hourlong set, something she hasn't done for every show on her current tour.

Colds and surgery aside, Lynn's music is tough, too, a picture of resilience and endurance. In the don't-mess-with-my-man "Fist City," Lynn seemed like she was still ready to make good on that promise. Same goes for "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)."

Stories between the songs drove the point home. Lynn recalled singing on top of Texas bars for $50, struggling to feed her children. A Dallas show canceled because of JFK's assassination? Lynn just borrowed some money to get back home. Seriously, don't mess with Loretta Lynn.

Lynn also showed that she could still do sad, with emotion-filled renditions of "She's Got You," "When a Tingle Becomes a Chill," and "Dear Uncle Sam." "Coal Miner's Daughter" closed the night, of course. It's Lynn's defining song and her most enduring one, made all the more impressive that she's still belting it out on a tour that's celebrating 50 years in country music.

Ready for South by Southwest? Announcements began streaming in last week from the festival, which is happening in just three weeks (March 9-18, with music March 13-18). The festival is having one more open call for volunteers, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Holiday Inn Town Lake (20 N. Interstate 35). Volunteers do everything from registration and the trade show to tech support, and they must work at least 30 hours or three shifts during the fest. You can apply online at volunteer.sxsw.com, where you also will find more information about the process and requirements. Or call 467-7979 with questions. ... After announcing a performance from singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, Pitchfork filled in the rest of its March 15 showcase at Central Presbyterian Church: Charli XCX, Purity Ring, buzzy Canadian act Grimes and Nicolas Jaar will join Apple, who made her name with her 1996 album "Tidal." ... The popular British Music Embassy, which establishes an outpost for U.K. bands each year at Latitude 30, announced its full party and showcase lineup, with events March 12 to 17. Badges and wristbands will get priority, but some events are open to RSVP; the link (www.britishguestlist.info) is scheduled to go live Wednesday ... New East Austin venue the White Horse will host a showcase featuring Ray Wylie Hubbard and Billy Joe Shaver on March 14 ... Emo's East and the Beauty Ballroom are not SXSW venues this year, the festival confirmed last week ... We'll continue to fill in the gaps, including shows at Stubb's and Saturday's Auditorium Shores free show lineup, daily at austin360.com/sxsw, where you'll also find news about the interactive and film fests and can search our online party database.

"Austin City Limits" makes moves. The long-running music television show made several big announcements last week, beginning with popular rock band the Alabama Shakes, who will tape an episode of "ACL" on March 13 when they are in town for SXSW. The band is scheduled to play a showcase at Stubb's the following night. Fresh off a couple of Grammy wins, Bon Iver returns to Austin on April 25 to tape an episode as well. The show also announced the Shins' taping will take place March 18, right after the band's numerous SXSW appearances. Other upcoming tapings include Radiohead, Rodrigo y Gabriela and the Civil Wars. Watch for ticket giveaways, usually in the week before a taping, on the show's blog.

Trombone Shorty at ACL Live. Troy Andrews brazenly disregards well-established genre boundaries. As Trombone Shorty, he and his band Orleans Avenue did one set of mostly Latin-influenced tunes at ACL Live on Thursday night. After a set break and instrument switch-out, they got into funk, jumping New Orleans jazz, rock, a few bars of ska and a tease of Jimi Hendrix. No respect for borders, I tell you, and the best time you could possibly have had Thursday night. This is what the term "joyful noise" is meant to describe.

Shorty calls the band's signature blend "supafunkrock," and rock they most certainly did. Their songs have tricky changes and some offer plenty of solo space, but the band never strayed. Shorty has a more than just-OK bandleader's voice and a load of natural charisma, but the real fun comes when he's stretching out on trombone or trumpet, both of which he plays with a cocky but winning vigor.

They slowed down now and then but never lost steam. Shorty himself managed to hold a couple of notes for what must have been two full minutes through circular breathing and somehow didn't pass out. "Get Your Groove On" was the nod to ska and rock steady. They also ripped through Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman" in a way that surely would have made the old man grin. Before the show Shorty (or someone with his Twitter account) tweeted: "Time for soundcheck! Ready to burn this place down feeling good!!!!" And so they did.

— Patrick Beach