Lucky Tubb’s life story has all the makings of a good old-fashioned country song.

Born in Texas and raised by his great-grandparents in Arizona, he got busted with 52 pounds of marijuana when he was 17 and served five years in prison. In jail, a kindly older prisoner taught him to play guitar.

When he got of prison, all he wanted to do was play music.

“I wanted to play the blues, but I couldn’t get a gig,” said Tubb, 39. “Someone told me I should play country music, and I said, ‘I hate country music.’ “

Tubb saying he hates country music is sort of like Babe Ruth’s offspring loathing baseball. You see, he’s the great-nephew of country music legend Ernest Tubb, who became a sensation in the 1940s with his deep baritone and honky-tonk sound, and remained a mainstay of the country scene until his death in 1984. Tubb had other less famous musicians in his family, too. So he liked some country music — his uncle’s, and the tunes of Hank Williams.

But contemporary country held no allure for him.

So, while trying to get blues gigs in Austin, Texas, other musicians began to suggest that his voice and style would be perfect for old-style honky-tonk.

Tubb tried it, and he liked it. Now, about 15 years later, he’s touring the country with his band, The Modern Day Troubadours, recording and playing a mix of old country standards and new songs written and played in the old style. They will perform Saturday night at Bayside Bowl in Portland.

Most of Tubb’s songs are played with a stand-up bass, a pedal steel or straight steel guitar, and piano — no drums. During live shows, he mixes old songs like his uncle’s classic “Walking the Floor Over You” with his own originals, such as “Bakersfield.”

He even records his albums in an old-fashioned way: live in the studio, on reel-to-reel tape. He also uses vintage microphones and equipment, including a reverb box once used by Roy Orbison.

No digital recording. No recording one instrument at a time and then mixing them together.

“If you’re playing the tune live in the studio, you’re feeling it; it’s not some cold track you play along with,” said Tubb. “And I like using reel-to-reel to get that nice round sound.

“People say they can use a computer program to get the same sound, but they can’t. You can’t reproduce the sound of a vintage microphone, or of a reverb box used by Roy Orbison.”

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]