Tanya Tucker,
My Turn
(Suguaro Road, 2009)

There was a time when a new album from Tanya Tucker was an event. My Turn, her first album since 2002, doesn't quite qualify. On it, she takes on familiar songs first done by men and gives them what the promo for the CD calls a "female twist."

The problem is, she doesn't twist them far enough. Tucker's approach to this material is too cautious, too tentative. She never cuts loose; her essential energy rarely breaks through. It's as though she doesn't want to offend anyone, anywhere, as if she's anticipating negative reactions and wants to cut them off before they come.

For example, her interpretation of "After the Fire is Gone," done with the Grascals, adds nothing new to the song, brings no different interpretation to it; the ultimate result is to make you head for the stacks and dig out Willie Nelson and Tracy Nelson's version. So many of these songs pale next to the originals. It's not all Tucker's fault. The arrangements, provided by producer Pete Anderson, simply chug along in predictable two-step patterns that they kill interest in the tunes instead of building it.

It may be Tanya Tucker's turn but it isn't the listener's. My Turn is more product than art.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

28 November 2009

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