I’ve been thinking a lot about the “legends” in country music lately. There are some names that immediately come to mind – names like Merle, Waylon, Dolly, Garth, and Reba.
And while the name Tracy Lawrence may not be the first in your mind, it’s one that should at the very least be in the conversation.
Starting from the very beginning, when his debut single “Sticks and Stones” went to #1 all the way back in 1991, Tracy Lawrence has changed the landscape of country music. His traditional country sound was a staple on country radio in the 1990s, highlighted by his unmistakable voice and his Arkansas twang, serving as a counterbalance to a genre that was starting to move more and more towards the pop sound that we’re still annoyed by today.
And just take a look at the hits that he’s given us.
Then there’s the songs you may have forgotten about, but if you listened to country music in the 90s, you probably still remember every word.
Songs like “Texas Tornado.”
Or “Renegades, Rebels and Rogues.”
(Side note: Just look at the glorious mullet Tracy was rocking back in the day. This video is peak 90s in the best way possible).
And then there’s one of my personal favorites from Tracy: “Somebody Paints the Wall.”
But it’s not just his music from the 90s and early 2000s.
Tracy may not have topped the charts since back in 2006 with “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” but that doesn’t mean that he’s not still cranking out great music.
In fact, his 2013 song “Lie” is one that never made it on the charts but is still in my regular rotation today.
He’s has also inspired a whole new generation of country artists – today’s superstars who grew up listening to Tracy Lawrence when they were dreaming of moving to Nashville. Justin Moore considers Tracy one of his biggest influences and one of the greatest country artists of all time – and he was even out on tour with his idol before COVID brought live shows to a halt. (Really hoping they finish off that tour so I can catch a show though).
And the biggest name in country music today even name-dropped Tracy (well, his initials) in one of his songs.
Tracy’s career has really come full circle, especially after the release of his Good Ole Days album back in 2017, which features some of Tracy’s biggest hits re-recorded with some of today’s biggest country stars. It could almost be seen as a passing of the torch of sorts if Tracy wasn’t still out there making music and sounding just as good as he ever has.
Sure, when you think of legends in country music you’re probably going to think of names like George (both Jones and Strait), Hank and Johnny.
But for me, it’s time that we start adding Tracy to that conversation too.