She started her career with a tune called "Snowbird." Her latest album features the Calypso tune "Bluebird."

The singer is "songbird" Anne Murray."It had been 20 years since I did a bird song," she says, "so I figure it was time for another. `Bluebird' will probably be my next single."

And "Snowbird?"

"I suppose since it was my first hit you could say it's my anthem. But the song `You Needed Me' is the one that started me on a roll. A couple of songs after `You Needed Me' and I was feeling I could sing in Chinese and the record would go gold."

Local fans will be happy to hear there won't be many Chinese numbers in Murray's show here (Tuesday, Oct. 2, 8 p.m., Symphony Hall). But you can count on about two solid hours of hits: "Another Sleepless Night," "Daydream Believer," "Can I Have This Dance."

We'll also get a smattering of numbers from "You Will," her latest album.

"When I released `You Will,' some critics wrote `Anne's back.' They felt this album was the way I should be heard. I've been told I was taking things too far. A couple of years ago, I went for a real contemporary sound. I felt stagnant and needed to break out, and the new songs were good, more energy, I needed that for my stage shows.

"But we all got a little crazy back then, experimenting with drum machines and synthesizers. Things got a bit cold. This new album is warmer. It feels right for me."

The truth is Murray has built a career on three basic building blocks: a solid knowledge of herself, a knowledge of her material and - most of all - a knowledge of her audience.

"I have an awful lot of tunes that people play at weddings," she says. "I believe `Could I Have This Dance?' has been sung at every reception known to man. A young widow in Provo with five kids met her future husband by

dancing to `Could I Have This Dance?' When they got married, their kids sang the song at the wedding."

Murray has visited Utah several times. She's played BYU quite a bit and once spent five days in Salt Lake City trying to kick a sore throat before a show. Something in her easy-going, understated style weds well with the Utah temperament. She blames that on Nova Scotia, her homeland.

Most people, in fact, have an Anne Murray favorite. They might call it "that pedestal song" or "Save the Last Dance for Me," she says, but they know what they want to hear.

And what they want to hear is a caring human being singing about love and life in deep, rich tones and memorable phrases.

That's Anne Murray.

She may be Canadian, but all North America claims her.