After more than four decades in show business, Loretta Lynn knows her limits.
Would she consider a guest mentor spot on “American Idol”? Sure.
“Dancing With the Stars”? Not so much.
“I can’t dance my way out of a paper bag,” she said in a recent phone interview.
Lynn, known for her hit single “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and the memoir and film of the same title, comes to the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts Saturday.
Fans should bring their request lists to the show.
“Whatever they want to hear, they can holler it out,” she said. “I’ve never planned the show.”
The approach reflects Lynn’s career, defined largely by the singer’s connection with her listeners.
Lynn was born in Kentucky, and watched her father earn a living as a coal miner.
She married her husband — nicknamed “Doo” — when she was barely 14.
The pair later traveled across the country promoting Lynn’s music.
Soon, thanks in part to Patsy Cline’s influence, Lynn’s musical uniqueness surfaced.
Songs like “You Ain’t Woman Enough (to Take My Man)” and “I Wanna Be Free” spoke to the ordinary woman — the one concerned with sustaining a family and a sense of self.
As a guest on “The Dick Frost Show,” Lynn famously dozed off while listening to feminist Betty Friedan talk theory.
Lynn’s breed of female empowerment focuses more on emotions — the same gritty sense of identity that characterizes contemporary country songs like Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” and Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.”
Since entering the music scene in the early ’60s, Lynn has seen plenty of changes within her genre.
Thanks to crossover success, country music stars now win awards on MTV — well, assuming they can tolerate an outburst from Kanye West.
(Lynn’s take on West interrupting Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards: “He didn’t need to be doing that.”)
Lynn’s reaction to country music’s expanding appeal?
“I think it’s good,” she said. For her 2004 release, “Van Lear Rose,” Lynn teamed with producer Jack White of rock act the White Stripes.
On the surface, White’s rocker image seems like an odd contrast to Lynn’s country roots, but the album got rave reviews — including a Grammy.
Lynn said she’s still friends with White, but he’s hard to reach.
“He’s out of town most of the time,” Lynn said.
She hopes to lure White with chicken and dumplings, maybe some bread.
The comment echoes Lynn’s popular simplicity.
Amid the music industry’s bright lights and reality TV stars, the singer brings her audiences the kind of comfort that comes with a home-cooked meal.
After all, Lynn isn’t too picky about the legacy she leaves — “as long as they can say I’m a good person,” she said.
Contact Sonya Sorich at 706-571-8516.