Grammy winner Eric Tingstad returns to the Tri-Cities for a benefit concert Jan. 10 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
But instead of performing with his longtime music partner and fellow Grammy winner Nancy Rumbel, he’ll be paired with Tayla Lynn, the granddaughter of the first lady of country, Loretta Lynn.
Tingstad met Tayla Lynn through mutual friends a few years ago after she and her husband moved to Seattle from Tennessee. They didn’t start performing together until about a year and half ago. The two also plan to work on an album together in 2015, Tingstad said.
“Tayla is pure energy on stage,” he said. “She is loads of fun, and audiences love her. She never disappoints.”
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She is the oldest grandchild from her famous grandmother’s brood of six children, all of whom are musical, Tayla Lynn said in a recent phone interview.
“I have three cousins who love to sing too, and my dad is a musician,” she said. “My grandmother helped mold my stage presence at a young age by always allowing me to come on stage and sing with her. I loved it.”
And though Loretta Lynn has always been supportive of her granddaughter’s music career choices, there’s one area where her grandmother wouldn’t hesitate to critique.
“If I ever had a bad show, she’d understand and give support. But if she ever heard that I wasn’t nice to someone, or didn’t make time to talk with fans after a show, she would let me know about it real quick,” she said. “And I still love to hang on to my grandmother’s apron strings. Family was always No. 1 in her life, and I feel the same way.”
Tingstad and Lynn will perform a selection of Loretta Lynn’s hit tunes, like Honky Tonk Girl, as well as a few of Tayla’s own songs. One of those is Coal Dust, a song she wrote as a tribute to her grandmother, whom she lovingly calls Me-ma.
Tayla Lynn is a no-holds-barred performer, Tingstad said. “When we first started performing together, she couldn’t understand why we took breaks halfway through our gigs,” he said. “She said to me once, ‘I don’t understand why y’all have to take a break.’ She just wanted to keep playing. That’s the kind of energy she has, and she’s always telling stories between songs.”
Lynn admits she has always been a storyteller.
“I do talk a lot and wonder sometimes if I don’t talk too much,” she said with a laugh. “But storytelling is just me being myself. I talk a lot, and Eric doesn’t seem to mind, so I guess you could say we complement each other.”
Tingstad & Rumbel won the Grammy Award in 2003 for best New Age album for their Acoustic Garden CD. Tayla Lynn was part of the trio Stealing Angels with Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Wayne from 2007-12, and her partners have a pedagogy as renowned as Lynn’s. Cutbirth is a descendant of Daniel Boone, and Wayne is the granddaughter of John Wayne.
“The three of us are still great friends,” she said. “They will always be my sisters.”
And though Lynn considers herself a pure country singer like her grandmother, she is quite the opposite of Loretta Lynn when it comes to how she dresses for the stage.
“My grandmother loved big dresses, but I’m more the jeans type,” she said.
Proceeds from the Tingstad and Lynn concert will benefit the Mid-Columbia Performing Arts Center. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $30 and are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/961765 or at the door.