This week, the Grand Ole Opry’s first priority will be honoring the memory of Loretta Lynn, in the wake of her passing on Tuesday, October 4. It happens to be the Opry’s 97th birthday week, which means it’s been at the core of country music only a little bit longer than Lynn, who was 90 years old.
In fact, the Opry celebrated Lynn’s milestone birthday earlier this year in grand style, with an event that included performances from Lynn’s sister Crystal Gale as well as Maggie Rose, The Gatlin Brothers, and more. Lynn herself had been a member of the Opry for no less than 60 years as of September 25.
The ongoing tribute to Lynn, one of the most toweringly influential figures in the history of country music, has already included performances of some of her songs. Tuesday night, Chris Young sang “After the Fire Is Gone,” Jeannie Seely covered the classic “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” and Carly Pearce did a tune she penned herself called “Dear Miss Loretta.”
The live show will be available to watch on TV, radio, and livestream from the Opry this coming Saturday and will be dedicated to the memory of the honky-tonk queen as well. And on WSM’s Coffee, Country, and Cody, Opry members and other famous friends of the country giant will make appearances in her honor.
The Opry’s vice president and executive producer, Dan Rogers, said, “There is no monument, award, or musical performance that can ever begin to recognize the incredible woman Loretta Lynn was or the contributions she made.” But you can’t blame the Opry for trying.
Lynn’s last performance on the Opry stage was in 2017 when she played iconic tracks like “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” and “Fist City” on the occasion of Crystal Gayle’s induction into the organization. But her music and personality will be a part of country music’s living memory forever.