Sweet Western Sound is Tanya Tucker’s first album of new music since 2019’s 2x-Grammy Award-winning, While I’m Livin’. While that album’s stripped-down, singer-songwriter approach leaned toward the acoustic side, Sweet Western Sound’s framework is more muscular, evoking, at times, the vintage West Coast country-rock of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
At her core, Tanya Tucker has always been the consummate storyteller. Elevating life’s messiness into art is her singular gift and the legendary country music artist has the accomplishments, and the scar tissue, to show for it. Now comes the next chapter in Tanya’s own remarkable story, Sweet Western Sounds probing song-cycle reflects on the unintended consequences, fraught relationships, and well-earned independence she’s fought for her entire life.
Produced once again by Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings and recorded at Sunset Sound and NightBird Studios in Hollywood, Sweet Western Sound is Tanya’s first album of new music since 2019’s 2X-GRAMMY winning, While I’m Livin’, the re-introduction that revitalized her career and brought her music to a new generation of fans. While that album’s stripped-down, singer-songwriter approach leaned toward the acoustic side, Sweet Western Sound’s framework (aided by Trina Shoemaker’s brilliant mix) is more muscular, evoking, at times, the vintage West Coast country-rock productions of the '70s and '80s.
Likewise, with writers that include Brandi, Shooter, Bernie Taupin(!), Phil and Tim Hanseroth, JT Nero, Billy Don Burns, Craig Dillingham, and crucially Tanya herself, Sweet Western Sound’s cache of incisive story-songs are built to last.
Take the inviting, tone-setter “Kindness,” which speaks of the things that can only be learned overcoming life’s hardships. Tanya and Brandi then trade verses on the iridescent road-poem “Breakfast in Birmingham,” a spine-tingling slice of country-rock heaven. “Waltz Across the Moment,” and its sordid showbiz underbelly, is a spiritual cousin to Warren Zevon’s classic “Desperados Under The Eaves,” the heartfelt “Letter To Linda,” pays tribute to Linda Ronstadt, one of country music’s most enduring and essential voices and the glittering “City Of Gold,” reckons the cost of our dreams. Further in, the elegant and upfront “Ready As I’ll Never Be,” and “That Wasn’t Me,” unpack the tough choices and false promises we all have to face in superb detail. The album opens (and closes) with a sly voicemail-generated rhyme from Tanya’s hero and close friend, the late Billy Joe Shaver, which colorfully describes her in pure-Texas style, an entirely fitting bookend.
Through it all, Sweet Western Sound stands on Tanya Tucker’s exquisitely warm and wisened vocals and a spectacular collection of cut-deep songs - an assertive and confident declaration of vitality and purpose from an irrepressible and irreplaceable country music icon.