Recommendation XXX: Tracy Lawrence (threesome)

Alright, alright.  So the “threesome” title for three songs may not be the best name (or even sound appropriate, which it’s not supposed to) for the feature, and we may have worried parents call in with protests, but whatever, here goes.  Since this was #30, I wanted to do something special and since I mentioned it in one of my older posts, I figured recommending three songs at one time would be a cool idea, and a great time to debut it.  I struggled on who I’d choose for numéro trente, and this Texan guy —> just seemed like a good idea, since I’ve wanted to feature him for quite some time.  This will probably be a long post, so hopefully I finish this on time.  Get ready…

My thirtieth recommendation is (are): Tracy Lawrence’s “For the Love” (duet with Brad Arnold) from his 2007 For the Love album, “Strong” from his 2004 Strong album, AND “If I Don’t Make It Back” from his 2005 Then & Now: The Hits Collection album.  It was way too hard to pick just one from him, so I had to do this way.  It was just a coincidence that the two listed above (“For the Love” and “Strong”) happened to be the title tracks, so I was not being lazy.  I love a lot of Tracy Lawrence‘s music, especially his more traditional stuff from the ’90s like “Time Marches On”, and I’ve always been a fan of his’.  This is a man, who even when he sometimes records poppish-country material, cannot not sound country. His nasal Texan drawl is so distinct, he can’t be confused with anybody else really.  I really think he’s one of the best. He’s also really exciting to see in concert.  I happened to catch him with Mark Chesnutt and Joe Diffie on tour in Greeley, Colorado, and it was a very good time (and I just found out here’s coming back here in late November!).  Now, on with the selected songs…

“For the Love” is the title track to Tracy’s most recent studio release.  I remember reading about this duet a while back and I didn’t know what to expect.  It’s so cool that Brad Arnold (of famous rock band, 3 Doors Down) is singing this with Tracy.  I think the song is perfect for both and would totally fit on either of their records as one of their own: it’s very edgy as Lawrence says, with plenty of electric and steel guitar.  I think Brad Arnold’s voice is one of the best in today’s rock genre, and it has a good amount of Southern twang in it, but not too much.  3 Doors Down is one of my favorite rock bands of today, so it’s a must-listen for me.  I love the message of the song: about doing what you do because you love it.  I wish more of people in the world would be motivated by their passion, rather than profit, or whatever.  I think the world would be better off.  It’s kinda ironic because the record this album comes off of, is Tracy’s first release from his own independent record label he started up (Rocky Comfort Records).  Here’s to people and their drive for creating art for their own personal goals and not mainly for the money.  I gotta say: I think the story of the cop in the song is also inspiring, and I’m not sure if it’s a true account of a real story, and I’m sure it would be rare, but it’s still very cool.  Another great song is the first single, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are”.  It comes in two versions: the solo version and my favorite, the collaboration version with Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney (I’m surprised I prefer that version myself lol, but it makes the lyrics come alive more.  I don’t like how iTunes makes you buy the whole album to get that version.  I refuse to give in to that).

The next song is “Strong”, the title-track from the album of the same name from 2004.  Truth be told, that album is kinda disappointing but there are some really good songs on it though, and “Strong” is definitely one of them.  It tells the story of a single mother who continues on raising her two kids alone, and while she breaks down sometime, she keeps going on and holds on.  I can relate to the lyrics because of my own mother: she has raised my sister and I, all by herself for 20 years plus, and I have tremendous respect for her for all that.  She may not be perfect, but she tries hard.  She may feel weak sometimes and cry when there are conflicts, but she’s one of the strongest people I’ve ever known.  Sometimes I have to keep her optimistic, but she’s only human.  Lyrically, this song is like Craig Morgan‘s “Tough” and Clint Black’s “The Strong One”, but I personally prefer this one.  A great tribute.  Even without the specialness of the lyrics, the instrumentation itself is awesome.  Loaded with steel guitar and some nice electric guitar, so just about any country fan would like it.  One other song I have to shout-out for on this album is “Sawdust On Her Halo”, which is an uptempo honky-tonker that begins slow with a piano and explodes into a two-stepper, and sounds like classic Tracy.

With a sorrowful-sounding solo fiddle intro, “If I Don’t Make It Back”, tells the story of a guy accounting of his friend, Jimmy and his last days with his gang of buddies before he heads off to war.  Jimmy gives instructions to the narrator of the song of what to do if he doesn’t return home.  This song is truly one of the best war songs I’ve heard and was actually a single some years ago.  Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), country radio ignored this incredible song.  I figured since it did not chart very well, it still is basically eligible to be a recommendation.  Tracy’s vocals are haunting in this tune, breaking and being strong in the right moments, for such an emotional song.  The production, especially in the chorus, is really powerful and adds to the words.  The last verses are sad to listen to because you find out the fate of the soldier, because his instructions are carried out specifically of what he asked, and the songs ends with that sorrowful fiddle.  I think this is one of Tracy’s best singles ever and it really paints a picture of the horrors of what war can do to the families and friends of fallen soldiers.  That’s why I saved it for last.  The track was co-written by Bobby Pinson, so I think that also makes it even more appealing.

I probably won’t be doing another “threesome” recommendation for a while (or maybe I will) because they take a while to type up, but I’m full of surprises!  We’ll see.  It’s extra hard with them because I don’t want to type too little or too much about the songs, and I want to make them exciting to read.  All the songs I’ve recommended I’ve got a lot to say about and enjoy to listen too immensely, so I’m hoping you do too.  Some radio singles I love from Tracy are: “Sticks and Stones”, “If the World Had a Front Porch”, “Alibis”, “As Any Fool Can See”, and “Is That a Tear”…and on.

Thanks for reading!

Buy “For the Love”, “Strong”, and “If I Don’t Make It Back” from iTunes now!

Here are the full lyrics to “For the Love”, written by Paul Nelson & Rick Huckaby:

He takes all this criticism from those who never played the game
No matter how hard they hit him he keeps on playing through the pain
When they lose, he takes the blame
Old number nine

For the love, they live
For the love, they die
No higher calling in this life
There’s nothing they can’t rise above
‘Cause it’s not about rich, it’s not about poor
Counting the cost and keeping score
They do it for the love

I know this cop in Cincinatti
Born into money and prestige
He could be living off of daddy
But instead he’s out there on the beat
Protecting serving you and me
Badge 4057

For the love, they live
For the love, they die
No higher calling in this life
There’s nothing they can’t rise above
‘Cause it’s not about rich, it’s not about poor
Counting the cost and keeping score
They do it for the love

He’s in your heart, he’s your best friend
He won’t break, no, he won’t bend
Look around you’ll see he’s in each of us

For the love, we live
For the love, we die
No higher calling in this life
There’s nothing we can’t rise above
‘Cause it’s not about rich, it’s not about poor
Counting the cost and keeping score
They do it for the love

We all do it for the love
The love…

————————-

Here are the full lyrics to “Strong”, written by Jimbeau Hinson, Jon Michaels, & Kim Tribble:

In her bare feet, white cotton dress
A ribbon holding back her curls
In a sweet gentle voice, she sings a lullaby
To two sleepy little girls
In the nightlight glow as her babies drift off
She looks so fragile, looks so so soft

She’s strong
Solid as a rock
Like a lighthouse standing alone
She’s strong got the world on her shoulders
She keeps carrying on
She can take the heat, she can take the cold winter
She’s got faith there’s no quit in her
She’s strong
Yeah, so strong

There’s a crayon picture says “We love you mom”
She keeps it in a frame on her desk
There’s a friend of a friend
Who calls now and then
But she’s not ready just yet
She might get lonely in the still of the night
But she’ll hold out, ’til she knows it’s right

And sometimes when nobody else is around
She gets down
And sometimes in a moment of weakness
A single tear falls, and that’s all

She’s strong
She’s strong
She can take the heat she can take the cold winter
She’s got faith there’s no quit in her
She’s strong
Yeah, so strong
She’s strong
Yeah, so strong

————————-

Here are the full lyrics to “If I Don’t Make It Back”, written by Brett Jones & Bobby Pinson:

We went out for beers and a couple of laughs
Knowing full well that every bad joke that Jimmy told
Might be his last
So we laughed like the world wasn’t at war
Said things to him we’d never said before
And he teared up as he held up his glass
He said, “Boys, if I don’t make it back…

Have a beer for me, don’t waste no tears on me
On Friday night, sit on the visitors’ side
And cheer for the home team
Drive my Camaro, 90 miles an hour down Red Rock Road
With “Born to Run” blasting on the radio
And find someone good enough for Amy
Who will love her like I would have
If I don’t make it back”

We said, “Hey, man that ain’t gonna happen
Don’t even think like that
If we know you, you’ll pull through without a scratch”
He pulled me aside in the parking lot
Said, “Amy and me, we’re gonna tie the knot
You’re my best man, just wanted you to know that
Just in case, I don’t make it back…

Have a beer for me, don’t waste no tears on me
On Friday night, sit on the visitors’ side
And cheer for the home team
Drive my Camaro, 90 miles an hour down Red Rock Road
With “Born to Run” blasting on the radio
And find someone good enough for Amy
Who will love her like I would have
If I don’t make it back”

If the good Lord calls me home
I’d like to think my friends
Will think about me when I’m gone”

Well, Miller Lite ain’t my brand
But I drink one every now and then, in his honor
And we ain’t missed a home game yet
Had that Camero at 110 on Red Rock Road
When the speakers blowed
And I introduced Amy to a friend of mine from Monroe
He’s a good ole boy
But you know, she just ain’t ready…

—————————————————-

http://tracylawrence.musiccitynetworks.com/

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1 Comment

  1. Wow, I just realized this through some of the search engine terms that have found this page, but the combination of “XXX” in the title and “threesome” don’t exactly bring in the audience I wanted to find this blog lol. Could not be any different.


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