Tanya Tucker Shares Stories and Surprises at ‘Delta Dawn’ 50th Anniversary Celebration
It's been 50 years since Tanya Tucker released her career-changing single "Delta Dawn." Over the years, the Texas native has survived highs and lows, but that unexpected journey led to one very special celebration.
Tucker took the Ryman Auditorium stage Sunday night (April 10) to mark the occasion with a performance of her biggest career hits, along with a string of surprise appearances from old friends and longtime creative collaborators.
The night, much like the spunky 63-year-old herself, was filled with unpredictable moments. The first surprise of the evening was an appearance from Brenda Lee, who electrified the crowd with an abbreviated version of her holiday classic "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." Although the song may have been a bit out of season, the crowd cheered and sang along with every line. There was a buzz of excitement that permeated through the evening as fans eagerly awaited another unannounced guest to come to the stage.
Tucker used the opportunity to share special moments with collaborators and friends from throughout her career, many of whom she's known since "Delta Dawn" catapulted her into stardom at the age of 13. T. Graham Brown joined Tucker for a rendition of their hit 1990 duet "Don't Go Out," Delbert McClintock took the stage for their 1992 collaboration "Tell Me About It," and Paul Overstreet arrived to revisit their 1987 duet "I Won't Take Less Than Your Love."
Outlaw country legend Jessi Colter made a rare public appearance, taking a seat behind a grand piano to perform "Storms Never Last," her famed duet with Waylon Jennings. Accomplished 81-year-old songwriter Sonny Throckmorton took the stage to perform a version of "The Cowboy Rides Away," a track he co-wrote with Casey Kelly that became a Top 5 hit for George Strait in 1985. Tucker repeatedly praised Throckmorton and the other songwriters who penned hits for her over the years, reiterating the importance of their craft.
LeAnn Rimes, who just announced plans to release a new record, supplied beautiful harmonies to Tucker's massive hit "Love Me Like You Used To." Ty Herndon put his own spin on "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane," which he noted was one of his own mother's favorite songs.
The night was also a family affair for Tucker. All three of her children were in attendance, including daughter Presley on backing vocals for the entire evening, as well as a special rendition of Merle Haggard's "The Way I Am" from her 22-year-old daughter Layla that earned a standing ovation. Tucker performed many of her own hits solo too, including the show opener "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)," "Hangin' In," "Down to My Last Teardrop" and "Bring My Flowers Now," the powerful Brandi Carlile-produced track that earned Tucker her first Grammy Award in 2020.
Some of the most memorable moments during the one-night-only event were Tucker's thoughtful, often humorous reflections on her own life and career. "The biggest surprise of the night is that I fit into these pants," she joked with the crowd.
To close out the show, all of the evening's performers gathered around Tucker to sing the song that started it all, "Delta Dawn." As the curtains closed, fans were left with a lasting reminder of Tucker's importance and impact on country music. Of course, she doesn't plan on wrapping things up for good any time soon — during the performance, she revealed that she's hard at work on two new projects; a follow up to her award-winning comeback record While I'm Livin' in collaboration with Brandi Carlile, as well as a duets album.
While fans wait for more new music, Tucker will resume her Hard Luck Tour later this month, with dates scheduled across the U.S. and Canada through the summer.