In 1991 twenty-three-year-old Tracy Lawrence’s debut single, “Sticks and Stones,” topped the Billboard chart. Lawrence shared that George Jones and Merle Haggard influenced his music. Now, just ahead of his fiftieth birthday, Lawrence re-recorded the hit with Luke Bryan for Good Ole Days, his latest album. Now it’s Lawrence who is influencing the next generation of artists and fans.
“I think one of the great things about a lot of the music from that era is that it still holds up today. The production values were so strong, and the writing was great. Those songs were so impactful. It was the story of people’s lives back then, and it’s great to see that those songs have transcended the generations. A lot of kids are searching the Internet, and they might find one song that they like, and then listen to the entire catalog. It’s great to have teenagers come out to the shows and sing along with ‘Sticks and Stones’ and ‘Alibis.’ They have been exposed to all of it. It’s pretty awesome.”
With 13 million albums sold, 18 number ones, 22 Billboard Top 10’s, CMA and ACM awards (along with a Grammy nomination), the Arkansas native has accomplished a lot in the past three decades in Nashville. He hosts a syndicated weekly country music radio show, “Honky Tonkin’ With Tracy Lawrence,” and was nominated for National On-Air Personality of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Radio Awards. The show spotlights music from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.
Not one to rest on his past, Lawrence is always working on new songs.
“You have to exercise your mind. I enjoy that process. It’s very healthy for me. You get to purge all those things that you hold inside. You’re able to get a lot of that stuff out and it calms you down. At least it does for me. It’s extremely therapeutic.”
His latest studio album combines newly recorded duets of his solo hits along with two new tunes – the title track and “Finally Home.”
“To realize that I’m being looked at by new artists in the same light as I looked at guys like Strait and Haggard is very flattering. To know that I’ve made music that’s had that kind of impact on people, well, it’s pretty cool.”
“Time Marches On” featuring Tim McGraw and written by Bobby Braddock
Originally released: March 1996, Time Marches On album / #1 hit
“I knew the moment I heard it that it was a smash and that it was a career song. Those don’t come along every day. To be able to say that much about multiple generations of a family in three minutes is pretty masterful, but that’s the caliber of a songwriter that Bobby Braddock is. When you hear a demo like that, you know it’s a hit.”
“Sticks And Stones” featuring Luke Bryan. It was written by Elbert West, Roger Dillon Originally released: November 1991, Sticks and Stones album / #1 hit
“Alibis” featuring Justin Moore. The tune was written by Randy Boudreaux and originally released: February 1993, Alibis album / #1 hit
“Can’t Break It To My Heart” featuring Jason Aldean Written by Tracy Lawrence, Kirk Roth, Earl Clark, and Elbert West Originally released: June 1993, Alibis album / #1 hit
“Good Ole Days” Featuring Brad Arnold and Big & Rich. The song was written by Chris Destefano, Josh Osborne, and Shane McAnally.
“If The World Had A Front Porch” featuring newcomer Luke Combs and the hit song was written by Tracy Lawrence, Paul Nelson, Kenny Beard. It was originally released: September 1995, I See It Now album
“Texas Tornado” features the “Small Town Boy” singer, Dustin Lynch and was written by Bobby Braddock. It was originally released: April 1995, I See It Now album / #1 hit
“Stars Over Texas” features the CMT’s “I Love Kellie Pickler” star herself and was written by Tracy Lawrence, Larry Boone, Paul Nelson Originally released: July 1996, Time Marches On album
“If The Good Die Young” featuring Chris Young who has a brand new album out, Losing Sleep! The song was written by Craig Wiseman and Paul Nelson. Originally released: January 1994, Alibis album / #1 hit
“Paint Me A Birmingham” features “A Girl Like You” singer Easton Corbin. Written by Buck Moore and Gary Duffy and originally released: October 2003, Strong album
“Finally Home” featuring a legend himself, Craig Morgan. The tune was written by Rob Crosby.
“It was written with the Finally Home Foundation in mind. They provide interest-free housing for soldiers and wounded veterans. I had tracked the song, and it was the last piece that we didn’t have a duet partner on. I found out that Craig was the celebrity spokesperson for the Finally Home Foundation. So, I called him up, and we were able to get it worked out. It was really special, and you could tell that the lyrics brought some old memories to his eyes. You can feel the emotion in his voice when he sings it.”
A portion of the proceeds from this song will be donated to Operation FINALLY HOME, a national, non-profit organization providing mortgage-free, custom-built homes to wounded, ill, and injured veterans or widows of the fallen.
Lawrence has also been honored for his philanthropy work on behalf of the Nashville Rescue Mission. His annual Mission: Possible Turkey Fry and Concert has helped provide more than 75,000 meals for those in need by raising close to a quarter of a million dollars for the Mission.
“I get a great reward out of things I do at the mission. I wish that we could help more people. I feel like we’re making a difference though. It’s become an integral part of Nashville. I never thought it would take off like it has. It’s something unique.”