The Ultimate Loretta Lynn Tribute Show,
Featuring Emily Portman as
Loretta Lynn, with The Coalminers
“When I play a ‘Loretta Lynn Tribute’ show with
Emily, it takes me back to 1967 when I played my first
show with Loretta. after my 55 years and 10,000 plus
shows, playing lead guitar with Loretta, it’s like I’m
starting all over again. What an honor and blessing
to be playing music with Emily, she’s a real pro in
my book, and I look forward to playing many
‘Loretta’ shows with her.”
– Dave Thornhill,
Bandleader of The Coalminers
and Lead Guitarist for Loretta Lynn
Emily Portman Bio
Like so many successful performers, native Kentuckian Emily Portman cut her musical teeth singing in church and learning to read music as a member of her high school band. Inspired by her parents’ music, her influences were an amalgamation of classic country and classic rock, with a little ‘80s music mixed in and included Merle Haggard, Jim Croce, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. In college, she joined a choral group, learned the guitar, and began performing professionally at the Corydon Jamboree just across the border in neighboring Indiana. However, when she covered the music of Loretta Lynn, people took notice.
At an early age, perhaps due to her Kentucky roots and natural inflection, Emily was told that she, “sounded a lot like” country music legend, Loretta Lynn, so she became a student of her artistry. Emily pored over the singer’s entire catalogue of music and began working to emulate Loretta’s vocal style and her on stage mannerisms. In the summer of 2004, Emily entered a “Sing Like” contest at the Kentucky Opry and won $1,000 for her portrayal of Loretta.
Just a couple years later, after posting a video of herself performing a Loretta Lynn song on YouTube, she was discovered by Michael Twitty (eldest son of the great Conway Twitty) who cast her to portray Loretta in the nationally touring musical “It’s Only Make Believe.” The musical was instrumental in establishing Portman’s career. Over the next two decades, her portrayal of the Coal Miner’s Daughter would carry to the most prestigious stages (including the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry), where she would rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the business, including George Jones, Archie Campbell, Vern Gosdin, Toby Keith, Chris Cagle, and even Loretta Lynn, herself, with whom she formed a close friendship.
Emily made frequent trips to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN. During one of her visits, the two singers were enjoying a casual conversation when, in mid-sentence, Lynn paused, looked at her straight in the eyes and said, “ya’know, we have a real connection, don’t we?” If you ever saw the two performers together, the connection they shared was obvious.
After Ms. Lynn’s unfortunate recent passing, Emily Portman connected with Loretta’s longtime backup band, The Coalminers. They agreed to join talents and collaborate to honor the memory and music of this true country music trail blazer with “Always Loretta”—a show authorized by the Loretta Lynn family that includes all the greatest hits and shares intimate stories of Loretta’s life through the eyes of those who knew her best.
Authorized and approved by the Loretta Lynn Family
The Original Coalminers Band Performing The Songs:
“They Don’t Make ‘Em Like My Daddy”
“You’re Lookin’ at Country”
“When the Tingle Becomes a Chill”
“I Wanna Be Free”
“Blue Kentucky Girl”
“You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”
“Love Is the Foundation”
“One’s on the Way / The Pill”
“Everything It Takes”
“I’m a Honky Tonk Girl”
“Your Squaw Is on the Warpath”
“Don’t Come Home A’Drinkin’”
“Dear Uncle Sam”
“Coal Miner’s Daughter”