July 10, 2007
Warner Bros.
Country, Contemporary Country, Neo-Traditionalist Country, Honky Tonk, New Traditionalist

Album Review

History may indeed be kinder to Tracy Lawrence than anyone thought. Sure, there are the eight million albums, and seven number one singles in the country charts, but while Garth Brooks and Clint Black are considered legends, Lawrence would seem to be forgotten by all but the most faithful. Truth is, Lawrence is a better -- and purer -- country singer than both put together. It seems that no less than an authority than Rhino Records, the gold standard in reissues, sees that too. This massive 21-cut collection documents his biggest selling years at Atlantic beginning with 1991's Sticks and Stones, and continues through his 2003 DreamWorks release Strong. The singles are all here, but it goes deeper than that. There are four cuts each from Sticks and Stones, Alibis, I See It Now, and Time Marches On. From 1991-1993, Lawrence was always near the top of the charts either with singles or albums. That's an excellent run. That the industry in Nashville moved away from neo-traditionalism and toward pop and rock has no bearing on the quality of his work; indeed, 2007's For the Love, released on the tiny Rocky Comfort imprint, stands with his best material. The time is right for this kind of retrospective, where listeners can encounter a modern version of a real country singer. In addition to more than an hour's worth of great music, Melinda Newman's liner notes are exhaustive and engaging, adding to the true definitive nature of this collection.
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Sticks and Stones
  2. Today's Lonely Fool
  3. Runnin' Behind
  4. Somebody Paints the Wall
  5. Alibis
  6. Can't Break It to My Heart
  7. My Second Home
  8. If the Good Die Young
  9. Renegades, Rebels and Rogues
  10. I See It Now
  11. As Any Fool Can See
  12. Texas Tornado
  13. If the World Had a Front Porch
  14. If You Loved Me
  15. Time Marches On
  16. Stars Over Texas
  17. Is That a Tear
  18. Better Man, Better Off
  19. How a Cowgirl Says Goodbye
  20. Lessons Learned
  21. Paint Me a Birmingham
purchase full album