Brandi Carlile Producing New Album, Documentary on Country Icon Tanya Tucker

Grammy Nominee Talks Exclusively to Variety About Tucker's First New Music in Seventeen Years

In what can be considered one of the greatest country music news stories to come out this week: Brandi Carlile is producing a documentary and brand-new album on country icon Tanya Tucker.

According to an exclusive report in Variety, leading Grammy-nominee Carlile has joined forces with Shooter Jennings to co-produce a new Tucker album titled While I’m Living, in addition to taking on the role of executive producer of the forthcoming accompanying documentary film Delta Dawn Now and Then: The Return of Tanya Tucker.

“She’s the most fascinating person in country music right now, and no one knows it,” Carlile told Variety in their most recent cover story. “The world’s going to be like, how did we forget about Tanya Tucker?”

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for The 2018 Concert for Love and Acceptance

Some may have, maybe–but diehard, tried and true fans like Carlile never did. And for her, a revival of Tucker’s incredible gift and a resurgence of her popularity are long overdue.

“For some reason, in country music, we have a way of not telling legends they’re legends until they’re 80, when we could have told them when they were 60 and they would have still had 30 years to teach us and stay in the spotlight and stay relevant to us,” Carlile declared.

“We wait until they’re so old before we have these tributes for them, and it’s beautiful, but we should have done this for Willie [Nelson] when he was 60 and should have done this for Loretta [Lynn] when she was 60. So this record’s called ‘While I’m Living’ because I’ll be God-damned if we’re not going to tribute her while she’s living.”

Carlile enlisted the help of legendary producer Rick Rubin to prepare for her role as a producer, particularly in this unique situation. “Rick Rubin mentored me prior to making this record about how he approached [Johnny] Cash to do something like this,” she told Variety. This will be the first release of new music from Tucker in seventeen years.

“I think that it’s time for us to remind the world that she’s influenced a whole corner of country music that no one else has even touched,” says Carlile.

“I mean, she would tell you that Wanda Jackson and Connie Smith did it before her, and they did. But that kind of sassy toughness you hear in any of today’s singers — that Loretta-after- a-bottle-of-Scotch thing — that’s Tanya Tucker. That’s where Miranda [Lambert] gets it from. That’s where Kacey [Musgraves] gets it from, especially on her previous album, ‘Pageant Material.’ That’s where Maren [Morris] gets it from, on ‘My Church.’ And Gretchen Wilson, of course [who name-checked Tucker in ‘Redneck Woman’] — and that’s where I get it from.”

No release dates for the projects have been announced yet, but you can read the full story on the album and documentary in Variety here. Tune in to the 2019 Grammy Awards to see Carlile perform when the show airs Feb. 10 at 8 PM ET on CBS.

Samantha is a country radio insider with a deep love for the music and its stars. She can often be found on a red carpet or at a late-night guitar pull.