By Joe Southern
Ever the sassy, brassy blonde bombshell she was when she hit the country music scene in 1972 at the age of 13, Tanya Tucker brings her repertoire of classic country hits to the Fort Bend County Fair Friday.
“Any time I get a chance to come back to Texas, I take it,” she said in a telephone interview from Nashville.
Born in the West Texas town of Seminole and raised in Arizona, the 57-year-old entertainer is excited about getting back on the road and being with her fans.
“The crowds and the fans really make a difference,” she said.
Tucker said her current tour came together quickly. Two years ago she was vacationing in Steamboat Springs, Colo., with her daughter, Layla LaCosta Laseter, where they were enjoying some horseback riding when she got a call to return to Nashville.
“The Hall of Fame was doing an exhibit of mine,” she said.
She made a hasty return home.
“I flew in from Colorado … left my horse and went to this thing at the Hall of Fame and did that whole thing,” she said. “I flew back to Colorado a few days later. All of a sudden I’ve got 65 dates on the road.”
That meant making quick preparations.
It’s her hope to be back in the studio once the current tour is over.
“I’ve got some music ready to go as soon as I figure out this stuff,” she said.
Fans at the Fort Bend County Fair can expect to hear the golden classics from the first lady of Outlaw Country music. Although she hasn’t put out a new album since 2009, it’s her hits from the 1970s through the 1990s that fans flock to hear night after night.
Tucker exploded onto the country music charts at age 13 in 1972 with “Delta Dawn” and followed that up with numerous hits including “What’s Your Mama’s Name,” “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone),” “San Antonio Stroll,” “Here’s Some Love” and many more. In the ’80s Tucker overcame some personal demons and failed relationships – most notably with Glen Campbell – and made such hits as “If it Don’t Come Easy” and “My Arms Stay Open All Night.” In the 66 singles she has released, 10 were No. 1 hits on the country charts.
After 44 years in the business, Tucker said she still feels the love when she walks onto the stage.
“The response has been overwhelming,” she said.
Still, even after all that time, she continues to make new fans with each tour.
“There’s still a lot of people out there who don’t know me,” she said.
If there is one thing Tucker enjoys, it’s fame.
“I still complain that they don’t know me in Uruguay,” she said. “I still want the opportunity to sing in front of people who might not know who I am.”
That probably won’t happen here where country music has been king for decades, especially at a fair featuring a PRCA rodeo.
“I started out at 13, 14, playing a lot of rodeos,” she said. “I always liked to get on a horse and ride out.”
Tucker said rodeos were always a fit for the music she sings.
“I love rodeo guys and gals,” she said.
In addition to the rodeo, Tucker has a history with the Super Bowl, which is coming to Houston in February.
“I had a great experience with the Super Bowl,” she said. “I got to do a lot of wonderful things… I love it and I love the people out there.”
She said it’s one of those moments in time that she treasures.
“You try to capture it and freeze-frame it while you’re doing it,” she said.
When asked about what gets her excited or makes her happy, she said she enjoys music and people.
“I like being around someone you have a lot of respect for and being around someone who can teach you something. I love being around creative people,” she said.
Tucker said her favorite song is “Delta Dawn” but not for the sentimental reasons of it being her first hit.
“It’s one of those songs that transcends time,” she said.
And the same could be said for the singer. The Texas Tornado may be a little older and wiser than the kid who made her debut 44 years ago, but she still has all the brass and sass that has endeared her to legions of fans young and old.