For Brandi Carlile, deciding to become a producer (and champion) of Tanya Tucker's new album, While I'm Livin'was a no-brainer. The singer wasn't originally slated to join Shooter Jennings in the producer's chair, but after Jennings talked to Carlile and realized what a rabid Tucker fan she is, he knew she had to be a part of the project.

Carlile's love for Tucker's music spans back to the beginning of her career; after all, she says, Tucker is one of the greats.

"Tanya Tucker has, I think, debatably one of the most important voices in country music this side of Johnny Cash," Carlile explains. "Particularly because Tanya sounds tough. She has an androgyny and authority in her voice that not many women that sing country music have had over the years."

Carlile adds that her involvement in While I'm Livin' comes at a moment when she is delving into another new passion project: the Highwomen, the supergroup that also includes Amanda Shires, Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby.

"[My work with Tucker] comes emotionally from the same place that the Highwomen come from," she continues. An artist who has most easily made her home in the Americana and folk realms, Carlile has recently found more of a voice in the country community. Being embraced by that style of music, she admits, has been a homecoming of sorts.

"It means so much to me. I started out singing country music as a child, and all the way up through my teenage years, I've never really been far away from it," Carlile recounts. "I consider country music, country and western music, Americana, American roots music, to be the great American story.

"So I'm telling that story, whether I'm working with Tanya, or the Highwomen, or the Secret Sisters, and I feel really embraced with that community right now," she adds. "Especially as a LGBTQ artist."

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