Now this really took us by surprise. Okay, it’s not surprising that country goddess Tanya Tucker is releasing her first new album in nearly a decade, nor is it an unwelcome surprise that it’s her first album of original material in nearly two decades, thanks to the help of the unlikely songwriting combination of pop singer Brandi Carlile and Outlaw Country heir apparent Shooter Jennings, who cowrote most of the new record with Tucker in mind.
No, what is most surprising about her new single–one of the only cover songs on the forthcoming Fantasy release While I’m Livin’ is the choice of material. It’s an obscure–and we mean obscure–track from the fantastic Houston-based proto-heavy metal band Josefus, best known for their seminal 1970 album Dead Man. “Hard Luck” is taken from a little-known blink-and-you’d-miss-it 1979 reunion single, and while the original version features all the hallmarks of the classic Josefus style, Tucker’s cover is a much more subdued affair. It’s pure honky-tonk delight; it’s the tale of a bad girl gone bad and happily stayin’ bad. While this number does remind us of her best material from decades ago, if there’s one thing we have against it is that at times it gets perilously close to aping Bob Seger’s “Against The Wind” and John Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses.”
But we’re not going to quibble about that–we like those Seger and Mellencamp songs, and we simply adore this fabulous cover of one of Texas’s best-kept-secrets. Welcome back, Ms. Tucker. Keep on being you.