The following is written by the fabulous Sue Guynn and it appeared in this week’s edition of 72 Hours. Enjoy!
Country music fans from the 1990s through early 2000s know the name Tracy Lawrence. (It was the “hat” era of male country music artists, soon to be replaced by the “cap” era.)
He’s won a slew of CMA and ACM awards, a Grammy nomination, and had 22 songs on the Billboard Top 10 charts, including “Time Marches On,” “Alibis,” “Can’t Break It to My Heart,” “If the World Had a Front Porch,” “Texas Tornado” and his first No. 1 song (25 years ago), “Sticks and Stones.”
The 1980s and ‘90s were “such a great era for country music,” said Lawrence in a recent phone interview. “It was the era of Randy Travis, George Strait … country music still had that traditional sound but was a little bit progressive. I was really a fan of it.”
Lawrence will bring his neo-traditional country music to the Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, for one show at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. Tickets are $40 to $55.
That era of music is also the focus of his radio show, Honky Tonkin’ with Tracy Lawrence, syndicated in 80 markets around the country. “It’s a way to stay connected to that music,” he said. The show sometimes includes interviews with artists, like Reba McEntire and John Anderson. It’s produced by Silverfish and distributed by Compass Media Networks, and is taped on Tuesdays in the same studios as Big D and Bubba.
A new album, “Good Ole Days,” is slated for a Nov. 10 release and it relives the good ole hits of Lawrence re-recorded as duets. He sees this project as an “opportunity to bridge the gap between neo-traditional and today’s country music fans.” Joining Lawrence in duets are longtime friend Tim McGraw on “Time Marches On,” Jason Aldean on “Can’t Break It To My Heart,” Justin Moore on “Alibis,” and Chris Young on “If The Good Die Young.” New country artist Luke Combs is featured on “If The World Had a Front Porch.” Kellie Pickler is the only female artist on the album because, as Lawrence explained, he felt he had only one song suited for a woman’s voice, “Stars Over Texas.”
The album also has two new songs, “Good Ole Days,” featuring 3 Doors Down’s Brad Arnold and Big & Rich, and “Finally Home,” with pal Craig Morgan. “Craig is the celebrity spokesman for Finally Home,” a nonprofit organization that provides mortgage-free, custom-built homes to wounded, ill and injured veterans or widows of the fallen, through a network of builders, suppliers and supporters. A portion of the proceeds from “Finally Home” will be donated to the organization.
The Arkansas native is well-known for his humanitarian work. In 2016, the no-frills Lawrence was honored by the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as its Philanthropist of the Year for his work on behalf of Nashville Rescue Mission. Funds raised through his annual Mission: Possible Turkey Fry and benefit concert have helped provide more than 75,000 meals to those in need.
And, of course, he’s still creating music, keeping a notebook of song ideas, lyrics and writing new songs. “I enjoy that process. It’s very healthy for me,” Lawrence says. “Writing is so therapeutic. I jokingly say writing a song is kind of like going to a shrink, only you don’t have to pay for it!”