Tanya Tucker isn't looking to change things up too much after Shooter Jennings and Brandi Carlile helped make her last album, 2019's While I'm Livin', a 2020 Grammy Awards winner for Best Country Album. To wit, both heavy hitters will be back for Tucker's next effort.

But that doesn't mean the follow-up LP won't show any progression. While Tucker and the two musician-producers will tee up for another album home run, the singer herself says her voice has markedly improved in the two years since While I'm Livin' emerged. She noticed as much when she recently heard "Mustang Ridge," the 2019 collection's opening number, on Apple Music.

"I thought, 'You know what? I'm so much better now,'" 62-year-old Tucker tells Rolling Stone. "I feel like I sing better, I sound better. I don't know, I guess the stars lined up again for me."

That's welcome news for those ready to hear what the all-star team has in store for a fresh effort. And although it's just now getting underway — understandably, the coronavirus pandemic has delayed many a recording session over the past year — it promises to be yet another strong entry.

"We're just about ready to get started on a new album," Tucker reveals in the Feb. 9 interview, noting that she's been writing new material as well as fielding song ideas from Carlile, who "sent me maybe a verse and chorus, and it blew me away," she says. "So we're on the right track."

The next album will also further indulge the raw, live feel of While I'm Livin', with the singer focusing more on the human vibe of her performances as opposed to repeating and reworking them to perfection.

"That's how I got started with Billy Sherrill," Tucker recalls, referring to her first producer. "We made records live. We didn't do any overdubs. … Right as we finished [While I'm Livin''s "Bring My Flowers Now" with Carlile], we went right to the vocal booth and recorded it. And I said, 'I wanna fix a few things.' And Brandi said, 'No, it is what it is. Think about it as Tanya Tucker, the singer, flaws and all. Not the entertainer.' I said I could understand that. She explains things like I can understand it. So whenever anyone wants me to do something and I don't wanna do it, they have her call me!"

That's an illuminating take from Tucker, who adds that all she ever wanted "was just an opportunity to be heard. Not to close me off and not to categorize me — just to let everybody hear me, man. They don't have to like me, but they might, you know? I'm greedy. I just want an opportunity to gather up some more fans. The more I have, the better I like it."

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