Grammys 2020: The story behind Tanya Tucker’s ‘Bring My Flowers Now,’ how it took 30 years

Tanya Tucker spent 30 years on a song that Brandi Carlile finished in 30 minutes. 

That’s what she’ll tell you about “Bring My Flowers Now,” the Grammy Award-nominated track from Tucker, a country music legend who first broke out of Nashville in 1972 with seminal hit “Delta Dawn.” 

“(It was) the last day of the session,” Tucker recalled during her headlining set at the Ryman Auditorium earlier this month. “Brandi came into the control room and said, ‘Tanya, let’s try and write that song you’ve been writing for the last 30 years.’ “

To which Tucker responded with a laugh: “Right now?” 

And the team went to work. Tucker co-wrote the song with Carlile and collaborators Phil and Tim Hanseroth for her first album since 2002, “While I’m Livin’.”

Tanya Tucker, left, and Brandi Carlile perform at Loretta Lynn's 87th birthday tribute at Bridgestone Arena on April 1, 2019, in Nashville. (Photo: Al Wagner / Invision / AP)

Released last year, the project earned Tucker four 2020 Grammy Award nominations — including a nod in the all-genre Song of the Year category. Carlile co-produced the album with Shooter Jennings. 

“While I’m Livin'” enlists a vulnerable, honest Tucker — “flaws and all,” she recalled to The Tennessean last year — and no track captures her season of impassioned mortality like “Bring My Flowers Now.” The sobering ballad hears Tucker’s road-worn voice sing, “Bring my flowers now, while I’m livin’/ I won’t need your love when I’m gone.” 

It’s autobiographical, Carlile said before performing a “Bring My Flowers Now” duet with Tucker at the Ryman last week. 

“We had been in the studio for a couple of weeks,” Carlile said. “She had been talking about her life and been really forthcoming, and T, you have an amazing life. All I did was listen.

“I mean, I was there, but I didn’t really write it,” she continued. “It’s really Tanya’s song.” 

And it makes Tucker “feel so good,” she told The Tennessean last year. 

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