Attitude counts for a lot in country music. And Wynonna had nerve in abundance at the Hollywood Park racetrack on Sunday, declaring to a crowd of about 12,000 fans, "I'm feeling saucy tonight!"
The singer headed a rich lineup of roots-conscious mainstream country acts--Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker and Trace Adkins--in a benefit for the Shoemaker Foundation. As couples danced near the betting windows, Wynonna crafted a big country sound with fiery elements of soul and rock.
She strutted playfully across the stage, offering endless inspirational messages to would-be musicians and other dreamers. With the help of a trio of backup singers, Wynonna movingly sang an a cappella hymn for paralyzed jockey Bill Shoemaker, who watched from the stands.
The racetrack setting was odd but effective, with the stage practically up against the bleachers, creating a fine, amphitheater-like venue. Tritt emerged there with anthem-like country music that remained deeply connected to his genre's acoustic roots.