Honky-tonk angel

Tanya Tucker Feather Falls Casino, Fri., March 19

I figured any artist who can survive the sort of tumultuous, growing-up-in-public young adulthood Tanya Tucker had and still be selling out shows 30 years later would be a performer worth seeing. And I was right.

After a short warm-up set, the band kicked into a revved-up fusion of rock ‘n’ roll and country, and out came the star with a halo of blond surrounding a youthful and very pretty face and an impish smile. Dressed in a black jacket with matching pants accented with a swirl of sequins up the legs, the singer had a good time with the feisty lyrics, delivering the song with a flirtatious smile as she acknowledged the past with a chorus about always being or being in “Some Kinda Trouble.”

Tucker stuck with the honky-tonk tradition of following the rowdy rocker with a sentimental ballad of cheating hearts and stolen kisses and conformed to the country tradition of treating the fans with gracious friendliness, pausing and bending to allow a fan to get a better snapshot without missing a moment of the song’s emotion.

The 90-minute concert was, for me anyway, crowned by a very nicely arranged semi-acoustic version of Tucker’s controversial early hit, “Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone),” a graveyard serenade written by country rebel David Allen Coe and sung this night with perhaps a greater understanding than in the version that Tucker originally recorded when she was 15 years old.

Throughout the show Tucker exuded the joy of a born performer, often introducing songs with a brief monologue about the song’s origin and repeatedly saying in a completely believable manner, "This is one of my favorite songs," before starting. It takes something beyond talent to suffuse a song as potentially smarmy as "Delta Dawn" with genuine, heartfelt emotion, and Tanya Tucker has that something, along with a hell of a lot of talent.