In 2019, Tanya Tucker released her first full-length record with new songs in twenty years. Produced by Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings, the album While I’m Livin’, would go on to win a Grammy for Country Album of the Year, and the song, “Bring My Flowers Now,” would win Country Song of the Year in January 2020.
As is the norm, artists plan tours around their record releases. Singing at the historic Troubadour in Hollywood with two sold-out shows was just a stop on her tour in October of 2019.
Tucker explains, “It wasn’t like we had planned to make this a record. It was sort of an afterthought. If we had planned on it being a record, we would have had a lot more options on the quality of the sound.”
Her only hesitation in releasing the live album was she wanted the sound to be as good as possible. “We didn’t record it in a way that should have been a record. But it worked out. It was one of those God things.”
Part of the profits from the album Live From The Troubadour goes to the foundation Save Our Stages which includes helping out the Troubadour which opened in 1957 and has been closed since COVID. “This pandemic has cut everybody off at their knees,” the songstress reiterates. “I grew up [performing] in small clubs like the Troubadour. They are the sort of the backbone of music, not just country music but all music. Those clubs kept us going when we couldn’t play in the big rooms.”
Besides helping out the Troubadour, Tucker was able to give her fans a little music to hang onto until “we get through this monster that we are going through.”
Live From The Troubadour features 15 songs including her smash first single “Delta Dawn,” and a cache of Tanya’s #1 country hits such as “Strong Enough To Bend,” “What’s Your Mama’s Name,” “Blood Red and Goin’ Down,” and “Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone).” The set also includes a sublime medley of Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” and Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and six songs from While I’m Livin‘, including “Mustang Ridge,” “The Wheels of Laredo,” “Hard Luck,” and “Bring My Flowers Now.”
“I am just grateful to be able to bring live music to my fans and give them a little something to keep them busy and listen to until we can get back out there on the road.”
I am sure Tanya Tucker fans will agree that part of the charm of Live FromThe Troubadour is that it is not overly produced. It is raw and real like you are really in that standing-room-only venue. It is so much more personal than a perfectly mixed/recorded record.
Tucker admits, “I kind of wanted to fix a few things. But Brandy and Shooter came to me and said, this is not about Tanya Tucker the entertainer, but Tanya Tucker the singer, flaws and all. Whatever came out of my mouth is what is on the record.”
Tucker compares it to the days when Billy Sherrill first recorded her in 1972. “We sang everything live. I learned “Delta Dawn” right along with the band. If somebody made a mistake, we did it again.”
With all the digital mixing and producing, Tucker likens herself to her friend Joe Walsh and says, “I’m an analog girl. Singers that come from that era of music like Brenda Lee and Patsy Cline and Loretta and Dolly, we’ve all been through that ‘You’ve got to get it right the first time’ and whatever is on there will stay on there.”
On the occasion when someone plays/mentions her Grammy Award-winning, “Bring My Flowers Now,” she thinks of what was happening she was making it. “We just wrote it and I was trying to read my writing and my handwriting was not very good, but we just sung it. I almost missed that last line, but only I know that. I appreciate so much that people will embrace the flaws (on the live album) because I’m not real kin to them myself.”
Because Tanya Tucker has recently won two Grammys, younger people are paying more attention to the traditional country sound that made Nashville famous. Although she knew Shooter Jennings before he was Shooter, she was unfamiliar with the brilliant Brandi Carlile. Even though she co-produced that album, Tucker had never heard her sing professionally until she sang The Joke at the Grammy’s and it blew her away.
Although she is younger than Tucker, Carlile became sort of a leader to her. Carlile pushed the performer to do a lot of first things she had never done before like sharing the vocal booth with her. “She was there for every second [of the recording].”
Tucker admitted to being a little disappointed that the Grammy’s did not air the awards being given to Country Music. “I think our music is just as important as anyone else’s. I’ve always had that problem with them. But the Grammy’s were important to Brandi and important to Shooter. If I wanted to win for anybody, it would be for them.”
In my opinion, no one recently has had a bigger comeback than Tanya Tucker. She agreed, “The only one I can think of was Glen Campbell when he released “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
Before he passed, her birthday buddy, (October 10) John Prine said, “You’ve inspired me because we’ve got a lot more left to say. I’m going to start on my new album now.” Tucker proclaimed, “To me, that right there, is my win, that’s my trophy.” Since then several other seasoned county music stars have admitted she inspired them as well.
Her good friend is Lee Anne Womack. She stated, “There is not a girl out there who can out-sing Lee Anne Womack. What is the problem? Girls aren’t getting the radio play. We’ve got to get that connection.”
One of the great honky-tonk heroes that Tucker used to tour with is Johnny Bush. He recently passed away on the album release date of Live From The Troubadour, October 16, 2020. He called about three weeks ago and said, “I love that song ‘Wheels of Laredo’, but I don’t know what it is about.”
Tucker laughed but said, “I feel sorry for these youngsters who never got to hang out with people like Johnny Bush, Ernest Tubb, Conway Twitty, and Merle Haggard. I know I am a lucky girl.”
There have been a few accidental gifts that we’ve been given to us during this pandemic and the album Live From The Troubadour is one of those rewards. Even though we all miss the touring and live music, we have been given this gift that will endear old and new fans alike to the one and only Tanya Tucker.
Tanya Tucker will be resuming touring in July 2021 for “CMT Next Women of Country: Bring My Flowers Now Tour.”