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Tanya Tucker - My Turn
By: Jolene Downs, CSO Staff Journalist  

If you miss the days of real honky tonk country, then this album is exactly what the doctor ordered. Tanya Tucker's first studio project in seven years, aptly titled My Turn, is an incredible collection of classics that will almost let you hear the clink of glasses at the bar and smell the cigarette smoke and the sawdust on the dance floor. The album is a tribute to her dad, who was a fan of the music that drew out the emotions and made you feel like you were living the song. Tucker teamed with producer Pete Anderson, who produced most of Dwight Yoakam's albums, for that honky tonk sound with a California twist. It was co-produced by Jerry Laseter and released on Saguaro Road Records.

The minute I popped the album into the CD player I knew it was a keeper. The twelve songs Tucker chose to include on the album are all songs I grew up with and love. She takes favorite hits from some classic country giants and makes them hers. Very few female artists can pull off the true country honky tonk sound and make the lyrics believable; but Tucker nails each and every song with an emotional pull that makes you believe you are living the song. Each time I listen to some of my older albums, I am reminded of what so many of today's lyrics are missing out on. Most modern lyrics will just touch the surface of life instead of digging deep into the emotional pull of living. And it isn't just the lyrics, but the music as well. I miss the fiddles, the steel guitars and all the real music that was behind the lyrics. Today, so much of it is electronically engineered that you miss a lot of the individual instruments. It all just blends anymore.

With My Turn you get it all, solid lyrics, fiddles, steel guitars and amazing vocals are found in abundance. Like fine whiskey, Tucker's voice only gets better with time and her unique style makes her instantly recognizable whether she is singing a brand new song or an old favorite. A combination of Dwight Yoakum style guitar playing and guest vocals by Jim Lauderdale made "Love's Gonna Live Here Again" an instant favorite with me. I've always liked the Buck Owens sound and Lauderdale sounded enough like Owens to make me check the CD insert to make sure this wasn't an electronic duet. Tucker did an excellent job on this Buck Owens hit.

She did a great cover of Merle Haggard's "Ramblin' Fever." A self proclaimed connoisseur of the Hag songbook, she says she would get on stage years ago in Printer's Alley and sing a straight 45 minute set of nothing but straight Hag. With so many songs to choose from, it was a hard call to find the one to do for this album, but I think it was a great choice.

Tucker was joined on "After The Fire is Gone" by The Grascals. The vocals blended smoothly on this Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn duet. You can even hear a little bit of Loretta in Tucker's voice through some of it.

You can't have a good honky tonk album without a little Cajun sound. Jo-El Sonnier joined with Tucker for a fun version of "Big, Big Love." This 1961 hit from Wynn Stewart makes you want to get up and move. Also included in this terrific album are: Don Gibson's "Oh, Lonesome Me," Faron Young's "Wine Me Up," Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues,' Ray Price's "Crazy Arms," Lefty Frizell's "I Love You A Thousand Ways," George Jones' "Walk Through This World With Me" and Eddy Arnold's "You Don't Know Me."

This is a great album and it was nice to have something 'new' from Tanya Tucker as well. She truly is one of the greats in the industry.

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