By Medicine Hat News on May 17, 2018.
Special to the News
All true art lasts, said Tre Twitty prior to boarding an airplane on his way back home to the U.S. after a performance earlier this month in Fort Macleod, Alta.
Tre Twitty and Tayla Lynn will be honouring their legendary grandparents Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn live at the Esplanade May 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tre and Tayla will be performing the classics and sharing stories about their beloved grandparents.
“If you look at all the old country songs — first of all, they were all great singers. You had to be back then. You couldn’t fake it and all their songs had stories behind them. The lyrics were more poetic and they came from the heart,” he added.
Conway Twitty began his career in 1958 with the hit “It’s Only Make Believe.” Conway passed away in 1993 and was loved and respected by all as the “real thing.” And, there is no greater advocate for the life and legacy of Conway than his grandson.
Both Tre and Tayla thought fans of their legendary country music superstar grandparents might get a kick out of seeing the grandkids up on stage singing all of the classic hits — solo and as a duo.
“I love when people appreciate the music,” Tre noted. “And they do in Canada.”
People love country music everywhere, Twitty explained, “But Canada seems to have more of an appreciation for it. It seems to be very popular with the younger people.”
As for the duo’s recent show in southern Alberta, Twitty joked the crowd was rowdy and vocal. “They love their country music.”
According to Twitty, the live show consists of Lynn hitting the stage to sing Loretta’s solo music, while sharing stories about Loretta’s life and how a song was written or recorded.
“Then I come out and do an hour on Conway — singing and telling stories of his life and stories of how songs were written and explain what a Conway Twitty show was like. At the end of the show we do about four or five duets together of Loretta and Conway,” Twitty said.
Twitty, also a passionate photographer, has always been close to his musical roots and has recorded original music, but he said he’s not a full-time musician. The idea for the grandkids touring together was spurred during an annual Remembering Conway show at Loretta’s ranch, according to Twitty.
“A couple years ago, Tayla was there hanging out and I started talking to her,” he said, adding the two talked about Conway being gone for 25 years and with Loretta not being able to tour anymore, the idea was born to keep the incredible duo of Twitty and Lynn, and their musical legacies alive.
Twitty said he really enjoys performing the hits and sharing the stories because of his love of his grandfather and the love of keeping Conway’s name out there.
“I feel like Conway has been one of the forgotten superstars. People always talk about Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard or George Jones, but nobody ever talks about Conway that much. I think it was because Conway was never the outlaw type. He was always kind of a gentleman and didn’t break any rules and didn’t do drugs and stuff like that. His life outside of music was kind of boring and never got talked about,” Twitty said.
“I want to make sure people remember how great he was as an artist and all the things he did,” he added.
Tayla grew up in the heart of Tennessee and started singing with her grandmother at an early age. Her father, Ernie, played guitar in Loretta’s band and her home was full of music. One of Loretta’s hits “Coal Miner’s Daughter” also became a biographical film. Touring with Loretta also opened the door for Tayla to a record deal with the trio Stealing Angels. Tayla’s new solo record will be released this summer, which includes duets with Tre and Loretta.
“Memaw and I are really close still today and see each other often. My set is ever-changing and the stories are ever-changing,” said Lynn.
Lynn said fans in Medicine Hat should be prepared for stories about Memaw and Poppy. “Because that is definitely part of what we do.”
And there seems to be a younger crowd these days at the shows, as the Conway and Loretta era is trending once again.
“Now, they’ve become cool. Memaw and Poppy aren’t out of style now, they’re cool again for the younger generation,” she said, and new country artists are covering Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn songs and of course there are the die-hard and devoted fans.
“They love our grandparents enough to come out and see their grandkids sing music. You really have to love somebody to come see their grandkids,” Lynn joked.
As for the duo on tour, Lynn said Tre is an honest guy, which makes it possible to be on the road together.
“I’m married and have two kids. I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t with a truly stand-up man. If it wasn’t for someone like Tre — honest, good and loyal. And also he watches out for me,” she explained. “It’s nice to sort of have him to have my back.”
According to Lynn, her Memaw said she loves Tre and has often said Tre has his grandfather’s heart.
“You’ve got to have that kind of person with you if you’re going to travel the world,” she added.
Tickets, $47.50 plus service charges and GST, are available online at http://www.tixx.ca, by calling 403-502-8777, and in person at the Esplanade box office or the Medicine Hat Mall customer service desk.
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