Tanya Tucker has returned. The sultry voice behind the hits “Delta Dawn,” “San Antonio Stroll” and “I’ll Come Back as Another Woman” has been idle from touring the past few years. However, she tells Billboard that’s all about to change.
“I’ve been off the road for about four years and kind of took my own little journey,” she said. “I had a bout with depression, and lost both of my parents. I just took a retreat from music for a while. I had to get to where I wanted to do it again. I was getting so piled on by all of these other things that it was hard to find a place to enjoy it. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. So I just took some time off, and the whole time, people were trying to get me back on the road.”
With 2014 turning into 2015, Tucker decided the time was right to re-emerge. “I ended up getting a new manager, which was so different for me. Ever since my dad’s death, I couldn’t imagine who would take over that role,” she said, referring to her father Beau, who served as her manager until his death in 2006. “It was such a major role for me. Nobody will ever replace him. Danny Nozell is my new manager. I told him, ‘OK, let’s get married,'” she said with a laugh, before stressing: “That’s what it is really, in working together and helping each other. It’s nice to be working with people who know what they’re doing.”
For the first time since 2010, the singer is taking her music back out to the fans. Admittedly, she said there are some nerves involved. “We’ve been putting a band together and trying to get it right. Plus, I’m a little bit rusty. I’ve got a few years on me now, and I’m not hopping around like I used to. It’s a little slow going for me. But all you can do is the best you can do. They’ve already got 60 dates booked for me this year.”
She’s played a few dates already, with the itinerary really heating up this summer. “The first couple of shows were like pulling teeth,” she confessed. “It was so tough, because I had been gone so long. You’ve got to get back in the swing of things, as far as performing and the rapport with the audience. It’s sort of like going to rehab — learning to do these things all over again. There’s no teacher, it’s just me learning the hard way — what does and doesn’t work. I didn’t want to do a lot of heavy shows at first. I wanted to do some clubs and fun places, where the audience is more forgiving and more understanding. But they were sold out both shows, and they were crazy. I’ve experienced that before, but not in a long time. It felt really great. All that matters is that the audience loved it.”
If you’re expecting a carbon copy of her past stage show, she said you might be in for a surprise. “I don’t want to go back to that. I want to do something different, be a different me. I think there’s lots of things I haven’t done that I am capable of doing. I want to do them. I think I can sing with anybody, unless it’s opera, and I probably wouldn’t do very good at that. I want to have some fun with the rest of my career.”
That return to form also includes new music — which she promises is coming sooner or later. “I’ve been working on it for 10 years, a little at a time. I’ve got it almost ready, but I don’t think it’s quite there. I need to tweak a few things and maybe cut one or two more songs. But I believe in the record and think there are some songs on there that you haven’t heard from Tanya Tucker before. It’s coming out come hell or high water. We’ll figure out a way. But I just don’t want to give it away. I’ve given two albums away, after going through blood, sweat and tears and handed them over, and that’s where it stopped. They didn’t do their job promoting them. People couldn’t find them. That’s going to change this time. I want my records in every dadgum truck stop, Target, Home Shopping Network — I don’t care. I’ll get on there and sell them on TV. I’m not beyond selling them out of the trunk of my car. Why not?”