My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review – Tracy Lawrence – ‘The Singer’

tracylawrence_singerFive years after scoring a comeback #1 in “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” and two years after a detour into Christian music, Tracy Lawrence returned with an album of all new material, The Singer. His third release for Independent label Rocky Comfort; it was Lawrence’s first album not to produce any hits.

The album was preceded by the title track, a semi-autobiographical fiddle heavy tune about the hardships in Lawrence’s life:

There’s a few things they might say

At the mention of my name

The saint, the sinner, the hopeless dreamer

Lord I just hope they don’t forget

The singer

The second and final single was the somewhat dumb “Pills,” that had a solid production by inane lyrics about different uses for the titular substance. Neither single charted.

I fully expected to hear Lawrence pander to radio trends on The Singer but surprisingly he kept the proceedings clean and country. Mid-tempo shuffle “Roswell and Monroe” tells the story of a woman’s alluring beauty, and it’s quite good. “Saving Savannah,” an “Independence Day” like number about a brother and sister is perfectly sinister and has an appropriately dark production to match.

Mandolin ballad “Tender Enough” is an example of how Lawrence’s sound has evolved. The track borrows heavily from Rascal Flatts tunes like “I Melt” and “My Wish,” and while Lawrence’s twang is a bit grating, the song works well. “Hard Times” is Lawrence’s attempt at being timely, and he fails because the subject matter sounds a bit dated even two years later. A Merle Haggard protest song this is not.

“Whole Lotta Me” opens like a hybrid of “Is That A Tear” and Rick Trevino’s excellent “Learning As You Go,” and it’s a good song, but nothing truly great. He rebounds on “Jealousy,” a neo-traditional ballad that proves he’s still got it twenty years after his debut. The album closes with new versions of “Paint Me A Birmingham” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” that are solid, but bring nothing new to either track.

Overall The Singer is a much better album than I expected it to be. The nasally aspects of Lawrence’s voice are still an issue for me and at times he seems like he’s trying too hard to be a country singer. But the material is solid although a tad underwhelming. If you’re a die-hard Tracy Lawrence fan than this album will appeal, for the rest of us it isn’t essential listening, but worth seeking out.

Grade: B+

2 responses to “Album Review – Tracy Lawrence – ‘The Singer’

  1. Luckyoldsun September 30, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Interesting that Lawrence completely abandoned the ’90s “Hat Act” look for this album. The cover seems intended to convey that this album is more gritty, personal and direct–and less contrived–than some of his other albums might have been. I haven’t heard it, so I can’t say if the product is in keeping with the impression.

  2. Paul W Dennis October 6, 2013 at 5:58 am

    THis was a pretty good album and I’ve always liked Tracy’s vocals (the nasal quality that some dislike doesn’t bother me at all – I also liked Rudy Vallee and Webb Pierce)

    So endeth the series on Tracy Lawrence. I’ve been tied up at work so I didn’t comment much on the individual articles but I think the staff of My Kind of Country did an excellent in covering this severely underrated singer of the immediate past generation

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