Tanya Tucker, the country star known for her streak of hits in the 1970s and ’80s, has released the first single and video from “While I’m Livin’,” her first album of new material in 17 years, now set for release Aug. 17. Like much of the rest of the album, “The Wheels of Laredo” was cowritten by Brandi Carlile with her band member Phil and Tim Hanseroth; the entire project was coproduced by Carlile with Shooter Jennings.
The video comes hours before Tucker and Carlile perform a duet on the CMT Music Awards, although they are expected to perform something from Tucker’s catalog of country classics (which include “Delta Dawn” and “Would You Lay With Me in a Field of Stone”) and not the new single.
A full track list has been unveiled for the forthcoming album, with six of the 10 songs being cowrites between Carlile and the Hanseroths, with a seventh, “Bring My Flowers Now,” adding Tucker herself to that cowriting mix. The three covers include “The House That Built Me,” a Tom Douglas/Allen Shamblin ballad that was a No. 1 hit for Miranda Lambert nine years ago.
The video for “The Wheels of Laredo” features Tucker on horseback and ends with a written crawl advocating for the humane treatment of horses in Tennessee. The song itself is set in Webb County, Texas and is not so equestrian-themed, revealing itself as a possible period piece with details about “jungle fires a-burning across the border of a not-so-distant land” before a chorus about being “stuck inside the wheels of Laredo, wishing I was rolling back to you.”
In an announcement for the August release on Fantasy Records, Carlile called Tucker “the greatest country and western singer this side of Johnny Cash.” Said Tucker of the collaboration, which took place shortly before Carlile’s big moment at the Grammys early this year, “I just love her. She was like my shadow when we were in the studio. Every time I turned around, she was there. And Shooter, I’ve known him since he was a baby. He’s the one who brought us all together. So I’m ready to get this music out there because it’s different than anything I’ve ever done.”
No announcements have yet been made about a release for the documentary Carlile is executive-producing about her idol. The filming of “Delta Dawn Then and Now: The Return of Tanya Tucker” was first revealed by Variety in January.
“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,” Carlile told Variety then. “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 — and that’s where I get it from.”