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A SALUTE TO CONWAY & LORETTA

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COUNTRY MUSIC IS IN THEIR BLOOD

There’s a moment right at the very beginning of any Twitty & Lynn show that affords country music fans the chance to look back in time. Just after the band has played the signature intro to “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man,” Tre Twitty and Tayla Lynn shoot each other a glance that summons the electrifying chemistry of their grandparents: Tre is the grandson of Conway Twitty, Tayla is the granddaughter of Loretta Lynn.

 

Audiences can’t believe their eyes. From that moment, for the next 90 minutes, they’re in the presence of living country music history.

 

“Fans have told Tayla and me that when they see us onstage singing, talking, and just looking at each other, they think, ‘Wow, there must be something genetic in those two families,’” Tre says. “It validates the experience of the concert for them. We’re telling our grandparents’ story through our story.”

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But Twitty & Lynn — and their internationally popular show “A Salute to Conway & Loretta” — aren’t impersonators. Tre doesn’t groom Seventies sideburns and perm his hair; Tayla doesn’t mimic her grandmother’s mannerisms. Rather, they are onstage celebrating country music, the lost art of duet singing, and the two beloved icons they refer to as “Poppy” and “Memaw.”

 

“I think of us as the ambassadors of the Twitty and Lynn names — we’re just the new version of what they’ve already established,” Tre says. “But we also want to be caretakers of the past. At our shows, we get generations of fans because country music is passed down.”

 

“It’s about family — the fans’ families and our own,” Tayla says. “We have so much love and respect for Conway and Loretta and we want to carry this on in such a way that we make our families proud.”

 

Loretta herself was impressed. The Country Music Hall of Fame member helped her granddaughter and Tre with their show and had the same time-traveling experience that today’s audiences do while watching them perform. “Memaw just loved it. It brought up so many memories of Conway for her and took her back to a place in her life when they were building their careers. She’d always say that Tre has Conway’s heart,” says Tayla, who lives at Lynn’s Tennessee ranch and used to tour with her grandmother, cuddling up together in the bus’s bedroom to watch old movies while on the road. “We were very close,” she says.

 

Tayla first had the idea for the show after witnessing Tre perform Conway’s songs during a concert at the ranch. She approached him about teaming up and, after a few shows to test the waters, they embarked on a tour of Canada in 2018. “Even though we didn’t grow up together, meeting each other wasn’t like meeting strangers,” Tayla says. “It was like we had always known each other because we had the same experiences.”

 

Now together as “Twitty & Lynn” for five years and poised to launch a huge summertime tour, the duo has cultivated an audience and caught the attention of Nashville along the way. In 2022, they made their debut on the world-famous Grand Ole Opry, singing “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” on the very same circle of wood where Conway and Loretta once stood.

 

The duo credits their show’s popularity to the timeless songs of Conway and Loretta — duets like “After the Fire Is Gone” and “You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly” are all in the set, along with Conway and Loretta solo hits like “Hello, Darlin’” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” But they’re also giving audiences a chance to relive a moment in time that ended far too soon: Conway and Loretta stopped touring together full-time in 1981, and Conway died in 1993. “Conway has been gone 30 years,” Tre says. “Had Poppy lived, I think there would have been a great second act for him and Loretta. There’s a lot of people that wanted to see that, and we’re able to let them hear those songs and stories again.”

 

Tre and Tayla are busy forging their own artistic identities too. The duo has an album of originals (and a few covers) on the way. With Tayla as chief songwriter, she and Tre have written songs for the project with Jeffrey Steele, Mark Narmore, Shelly Fairchild, and their producer Scott Baggett. “We’re at a great time in country music and Americana, where artists like Miranda Lambert, Margo Price, and all these funky country singers are embracing the Seventies style of Conway and Loretta. So when I’m writing, I’m drawn to that,” Tayla says. “We’re in a prime time to be doing our type of music.”

 

The pair also released a smoldering cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” in 2022, with a haunting music video filmed on the New Jersey shore, and cut a version of Conway and Loretta’s “Feelins’” — recorded the day after Loretta died last year. The raw emotion in the song is palpable. “It wasn’t planned out,” Tre says. “We were going into the studio to record our original tracks and Memaw had died the day before. So we said, ‘Let’s do one of her songs with Conway.’ There was this emotion in the room that we just couldn’t ignore.”

 

Honest emotion, along with Tre and Tayla’s innate chemistry, is what defines their onstage performances. Whether they’re singing to each other or interacting with the audience, there’s an easygoing authenticity that comes across. Tayla even talks to the crowd about her sobriety, sharing a personal tale of struggle and redemption.

 

In the end, though, their goal is to entertain while, at the same time, honoring their grandparents. Tre is lobbying for Conway, already a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Tayla is working on preserving not just Loretta’s music but her fashion: she wore one of her grandmother’s outfits onstage at the Opry.

 

“Conway and Loretta used to do everything with so much passion: the way they dressed, the way they recorded, the way they performed,” Tayla says. “We want to bring that to fans who were lucky enough to see our grandparents before and to those who are just learning about them.”

 

“Our show gives people an idea of what Loretta and Conway were like through their grandchildren’s eyes,” adds Tre. “It’s a special gift to keep that flame burning.”

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REVIEWS

WHAT THEY SAY...

"I love Conway.  I miss him so much.  I know he would be so proud of Tre.  I’m so proud of both of them for being out there, doing our show.  Thank you all for loving our grandkids and being so good to them out there"

-Loretta Lynn before her passing

"I know Dad would be looking down from Heaven and be so proud of Tre and Tayla.  I know I am!  Not only do they serve them well with their great talent, but they are two of the kindest people you would ever want to meet.  I know their entire families are so very proud, especially their Memaw and Poppy.  Their Aunt Joni is pretty dang proud of them, too!

-Joni Twitty

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