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Country music legend Tanya Tucker invited her 4-year-old bulldog, Stella, onstage at Mystic Lake Casino showroom Thursday night for a new number, "Kindness." Stella had a grand time, rolling on her back, delighted perhaps more by the company of her mom than the melody or words of the song.

After "Kindness," which will appear on Tucker's June 2 release, "Sweet Western Sound," Stella refused to leave the stage. Finally, the singer had to escort her to the wings.

That's the thing about Tucker: after 51 years in the business, she's not afraid to show her humanity. The 64-year-old Texan is not a rote robot doing the same carefully choreographed show night after night. She might repeat a well-worn story to introduce a tune, but she delivers it like it's the first time.

For instance, she explained the backstory of another new song on her upcoming album. Co-producer Brandi Carlile sent a demo of a tune via cellphone to Tucker, who forwarded it to her boyfriend to pass judgment. After a quick 30 seconds, he returned with an instant verdict.

"Hell, I wrote the sumabitch," Craig Dillingham divulged. Sure enough, he'd penned it years ago and somehow it got to Carlile without Tucker knowing.

"When The Rodeo Is Over (Where Does the Cowboy Go?)" sounded like a winner on Thursday, a wistful reflection that Tucker explained she sang to her pal, rodeo king Larry Mahan, on his deathbed in early May.

Always unpredictable and a little bit frisky, Tucker showed off a stylish new black jacket and then ripped out its interior price tag in front of the entire audience. Not one to hide her feelings, she playfully moaned about one of her daughters who usually sings backup with her, going on tour instead with Tommy Howell, aka the actor C. Thomas Howell.

At one point, the spontaneous Tucker invited a longtime fan named Bob to show everyone his tattoo of the Tanya Tucker logo on his leg. She admitted she doesn't have any tattoos but her 23-year-old daughter Layla has many of them. "I thought God made her pretty enough," Mom frowned.

Backed by her five-man band in a brief but rewarding 70-minute set, Tucker did a sampling of material from her long career. There was only one selection from her 2019 Grammy-winning comeback album, "While I'm Livin,'" helmed by Carlile, and it wasn't the hit "Bring My Flowers Now" but rather "The Wheels of Laredo" with its big ending.

The Country Music Hall of Famer touched on all her decades of the last century, with "Texas (When I Die)" from the '70s, the unplugged "Daddy and Home" from the '80s and "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane" from the '90s. She was in good voice, raspy, of course, but with the wisdom and conviction of someone who's lived those stories and survived.

Tucker ended with her 1972 breakthrough "Delta Dawn," giving it a bravura performance complete with Elvis-like moves, a turned-up collar, a windmill windup and swiveling hips. Then she did what old-school country stars always do — sign autographs and pose for photos for fans for a full 15 minutes while her band vamped and Stella ran around the stage waiting for her mom.