As if to underline her growth from the 13-year-old child star of old into a 31-year-old adult, Tanya Tucker announced from the Celebrity Theatre stage on Friday that her tastes nowadays range "from Mozart to Kitty Wells." Unfortunately, much of what Tucker sang during the Anaheim concert was a slick, country-pop hybrid delivered with too much regard for the show-biz conventions she grew up with, and not enough simplicity and heart.
That's too bad: With her distinctive, burry twang of a voice, Tucker has the potential to be a countrified Bonnie Raitt, someone with real depth and authority. Raitt's genius is to sing every song as if she has lived it. Too often, Tucker just went for the gloss, and came off as a singer with no ambition or motivation beyond being popular.
The Desert Rose Band's hourlong opening set was a cornucopia of brilliant instrumental soloing, rich vocal harmonies and strong material from the band that is single-handedly restoring country-rock's good name. Other ex-Byrds are more famous, but Desert Rose leader Chris Hillman is the one stretching his creative wings most impressively 25 years on.