The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile explores the career of a country music icon

-Brenda Hillegas

This isn’t a comeback story, according to country music legend Tanya Tucker. It’s a relaunch.

Tanya Tucker started here career at the age of 13 when her recording of “Delta Dawn” became a top ten country hit. Her decades-long career came to somewhat of a standstill after the release of her 2002 album Tanya (her 24th studio album overall). Someone as iconic as Tanya Tucker needs to remain in the limelight, so enter Americana music star Brandi Carlile and producer Shooter Jennings. The Return of Tanya Tucker Featuring Brandi Carlile, directed by Kathlyn Horan, follows the recording of Tanya Tucker’s first album in 17 years.

The documentary begins as Tanya Tucker prepares for a live show. Fans line up on Santa Monica Blvd. outside the famous Troubadour in Hollywood. Sold out. A quick montage of old footage reminds the viewers how long Tanya Tucker has been in the public eye (with her first Grammy nomination and Rolling Stone magazine cover at 15)- she literally grew up in front of country music fans who still love her today as they watched the self-proclaimed wild child battle bouts of depression and substance abuse. Carlile grew up listening to Tanya Tucker and took it upon herself to help the country music star make a triumphant return to the spotlight and maintain her “outlaw” image. While I’m Livin‘, the new album, was written for Tanya Tucker by Carlile and inspired by her career and life.

Fans of music in general will love this documentary as we see the process of an album unfold. From the first day in the studio, to listening parties, tour strategies and rehearsals, and leading up to Tanya Tucker’s first Grammy wins since her career began- this is a feel good film about overcoming the costs of being in front of the cameras your entire life and the struggle to stay relevant in the ever evolving music scene.

Stories from Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile are scattered throughout too and the entire piece is gripping from start to finish. Viewers really learn who Tanya Tucker is, where she came from and her family’s involvement in her career. If you don’t know music about the real person behind the songs, this documentary is a must. It’s a beautiful celebration of her career and what’s ahead. The Return of Tanya Tucker Featuring Brandi Carlile is in theatres now, so go see why Tanya Tucker has inspired generations of singers and songwriters. More information can be found here.

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