Loretta Lynn: Country star’s connection to Canadians

As country music lovers mourn the death of legend Loretta Lynn, a Vancouver historian is recalling how she began her musical career after performing in a renovated chicken coop in the city.

Lynn died peacefully in her sleep Tuesday “at her beloved ranch in Tennessee,” according to a statement from her family. The famous star is already 90 years old.

Four thousand kilometers away, on a dead-end street in the southeast of the city, a small plaque commemorates Lynn’s connection to Vancouver.

Rob Howatson, a freelance writer and local historian, told CTV News more about the pivotal role a long-established and unique place played in her stardom.

While Lynn’s life is well documented in the book and movie “A Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Howatson says the story of the chicken coop is not well known.

He told CTV News: “She has stories of the ultimate rich American Dream but she is also an extremely talented musician and performer.

“The only thing missing from most of the stories of her life is this little chapter here.”

Hawston explained in 1959, when Lynn performed in a chicken coop that was turned into a disco by the homeowner and a musician who “didn’t want to keep chickens”.

Lynn was living across the border in Washington state at the time, and the chicken coop had grown into a music venue.

“Local musicians would get together and play,” Howatson said. “And a young woman from Washington State and her name is Loretta Lynn.”

“She was invited to this exchange to perform. And in the audience that day was a Canadian music producer.”

The producer’s name is Don Grashey and his record label is Zero Records.

Howatson said: “Thinking that the writer had some potential, he signed her to his small Vancouver record label. There she would go on to record her first hit single “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl. She was able to use that little recording as a calling card in Nashville,” Howatson said. with CTV News.

“And she has gone on to have her incredible career.”

In a post on Lynn’s Instagram account earlier this year, she credited Zero Records for helping her get started.

The chicken coop was demolished in the ’70s, but Howatson and others had a plaque installed by the city in 2012 highlighting the location’s role in launching Lynn’s country music career.

She would become the first woman ever to be named entertainer of the year at two major awards ceremonies of the genre, first by the Country Music Association in 1972 and then by the School of Music. Institute of Country Music three years later.

With a file from the Associated Press

A plaque in Vancouver commemorates the country singer’s 1959 trip to Vancouver, where she recorded her first hit single.


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