Don't Go There: Rules Of The Road Vol. 6

Another entry on our list of things artists should never, ever do on a concert stage.

7. Do not bring a family member on tour with you specifically to crack a series of jokes about drinking when said family member has gotten into serious trouble because of the boozing.

Let's call this the Ernest Ray Rule.

L.. Freedom and I went to see Loretta Lynn on Saturday at the 9:30 Club, where the incomparable country icon staged a mixed bag of a show: A balky voice, more than a few botched lyrics and way too many cameos by her much less-talented brood during the hour-long set; but there were some truly terrific moments, too, especially during a gospel detour, a two-fer made up of "One's on the Way" and "The Pill" and the closing "Coal Miner's Daughter." (Klimek's official Style review is here.)

Without question, the worst part of the performance was the participation of Loretta's son, Ernest, who sang a little, played some guitar ... and joked a heck of a lot about hooch. He noted that he'd had a few -- "not that y'all can tell," he said, his voice sloppy and slurred. When Mom complained that her mouth was dry, Ernie said that he was kinda dry, too. But water wouldn't do the trick, so he asked the audience to bring him a beer. Somebody did, and he took a big swig from the bottle.

It's his shtick, and he's sticking to it: One of the guys in the band referred to him as the group's designated drinker, to which Lynn nodded enthusiastically. The act grew pretty tiresome pretty quickly.

But here's the worst part about Mr. Lynn's trademark patter: Five years ago, while apparently driving drunk, he crashed his Jaguar into a fence, killing a passenger in the process. "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Vehicular Manslaughter on Your Mind)," etc.

Makes those bad jokes seem a heck of a lot worse, no?

By J. Freedom du Lac |  December 8, 2008; 9:51 AM ET Crime , Legends , Lists , Rules Of The Road , Vices
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