While I'm Livin' is Tanya Tucker's 25th studio album which was released on August 23, 2019 by Fantasy Records.
The album earned Tucker the Grammy Award for "Best Country Album" at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards in addition to winning "Best Country Song for "Bring My Flowers Now" (which was also nominated for "Best Country Solo Performance" and the all-genre Grammy Award for "Song of the Year").
Album Background[edit | edit source]
After Tanya Tucker's 2002 album, "Tanya" barely broke the top 40 of the country albums chart, she began to retreat from the spotlight.
Since 2002, she has only released one studio album, 2009's "My Turn" an album of covers of songs by male country stars she listened to growing up, which was a disaster by Tucker's standards. Tucker later recalled to Entertainment Weekly that "It should have been called My Sh—y Turn. They didn't use the final vocals I made. I had no control."
After the release of My Turn, Tucker had more personal and pressing issues to deal with. She began to experience health problems from the chronic fatigue disease Epstein-barr. Both of her parents died (her father in 2006 and mother in 2012), leaving her emotionally drained and without management.
Tucker's father had been her manager since the beginning of her career. She recalled this time in her life, saying, "I quit touring. I didn't have a band. I went out to Malibu and sat in the sun and spent a lot of money."
Once Tucker decided to come back to the spotlight, she went to various labels only to find that there was little interest. For a while, Shooter Jennings (son of Waylon Jennings) had been casually speaking with her about the possibility of him producing her new album.
Plans for a new album really began to speed up once Jennings mentioned to friend and avid Tucker fan Brandi Carlile that he would like for her to write a new song for the album.
Carlile and her long-time collaborators, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, wrote nearly an entire album's worth of material. Jennings told Carlile that since she was such a big Tanya fan, she should co-produce the album with him. Tucker recalled that she was hesitant about recording the album at first, saying, "I didn’t know if the songs were strong enough."
The album was recorded over three weeks in January 2019 at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles.
Tucker stated in an interview on Acoustic Café that "High Ridin' Heroes" was the first song recorded for the album. She recorded a cover of Dennis Quaid and the Sharks' song, "On My Way to Heaven" for the album (featuring Quaid and Kris Kristofferson on backing vocals), but it was not included on the album's final track listing.
Album Tracklisting[edit | edit source]
- Mustang Ridge 3:37
- The Wheels Of Laredo 3:49
- I Don't Owe You Anything 2:34
- The Day My Heart Goes Still 3:19
- High Ridin' Heroes 3:27
- The House That Built Me 4:12
- Hard Luck 3:22
- Rich 2:33
- Seminole Wind Calling 3:35
- Bring My Flowers Now 4:20
Target edition bonus tracks
- Delta Dawn 3:33
- Pack Your Lies and Go 2:54
Chart Performance[edit | edit source]
"While I'm Livin'" debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, selling 10,000 units in its first week of release, almost all in traditional album sales.
The album also debuted at #2 on the Billboard Folk Albums chart and #68 on the Billboard 200. It saw success internationally as well, peaking at #2 on the UK Country Albums chart and #60 on the Scottish Albums chart.
As of March 9, 2020, the album has sold 44,200 copies in the United States.
Critical Reception[edit | edit source]
"While I'm Livin'" received universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, the album received a weighted average score of 83 based on 7 reviews.
Thierry Côté from Exclaim! have the album a score of nine out of ten and said that the album "is perhaps the finest full-length in Tucker's storied five-decade career."
In a positive review for Variety, A.D. Amorosi praised Carlile and the Hanseroth's "intuitive songwriting" and said that Tucker "proudly inhabits their biographical approximation of her nine lives with earnestness and ease."
Jonathan Bernstein from Rolling Stone gave the album four out of five stars, praising the album's song selection and said that Tucker "never succumbs to old-age weariness."
In a review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave the album four out of five stars. He felt that Tucker's covers of "Hard Luck" and "The House That Built Me" "add texture and deepen the emotional undercurrents flowing through the record."
He went on to say that when the covers are combined with the original songs "these tunes paint a portrait of a mighty artist who has been through a lot but is fearless about the future."
In a mixed review for Mojo, Fred Dellar said, "Tucker has created an album that should endear her to those who still raise the outlaw flag while also appealing to hard-edged pop-tinged rock believers."