Harlan Howard always told Tanya Tucker, 60, that she was a writer trying to get out of a singer’s body.
Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings have successfully pulled that writer out of Tucker with her upcoming album While I’m Livin’ (out Aug. 23), Tucker’s first collection in 17 years.
It’s a joy watching her face light up when she thinks about the full-circle moments that have come together in its recording process, which was a three-week collaborative effort with Carlile and Jennings serving as producers. The result is a series of performances that capture Tucker’s textured vocals in their earthiest and rawest form with timeless storytelling that haunts the heart of any listener.
Tucker has known Jennings since he was a kid with an affinity for original Nintendo video games. The three basically stole the entire 2019 CMT Music Awards with twins Tim and Phil Hanseroth when they performed “Delta Dawn” with a country diva choir that included Trisha Yearwood, Deana Carter, Martin McBride, Lauren Alaina, RaeLynn and Carly Pearce. Tucker was also the envy of thousands of music fans at the 2019 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival when she brought Carlile shots of her new tequila, Costa Salvaje, to drink during Carlile’s set. The two then shared the spotlight in a stirring performance of “Wheels of Laredo.”
The latest single from While I’m Livin’ is “Hard Luck,” a triumphant idea that Jennings brought to the table that celebrates life’s tribulations that make us who we are. The fun music video was filmed at East Nashville’s American Legion Post 82.
“When I’m comfortable, I can do what I do the best,” Tucker told CMT.com in an exclusive interview before the 2019 CMT Music Awards. “When I’m not comfortable that I can’t. But I was comfortable from the moment I walked in with her crew and the team that she works with and Shooter was there, which was automatic comfort for me. It’s a level of familiarity and then meeting her engineer and her film crew, it was, I felt really comfortable.
“I didn’t know any of the songs. So, that was a challenge, and of course, there were no fixes on the record I usually fix things. Back in the old days when I first started out, I worked with Billy Sherrill and did “Delta Dawn” and did all those early records there were no overdubs. If somebody messed up, we had to start over again. And that’s kind of the way this was.”
Tucker is the recipient of numerous awards, including two CMAs, two ACMs, three CMT Music Awards and ten Grammy nominations.
Her tour continues Saturday (June 29) in Tuscumbia, Ala., the hometown of Lionel Richie.