If you close your eyes and listen to Tracy Lawrence’s new album, Good Ole Days, you’d think you were back in the 1990s. But alas, you’d be wrong. The “Alibis” singer is bringing the ’90s back to today with a little help from his friends. And it’s just what the doctor ordered.
“I just felt like this was a great way to bridge the gap between my heyday and what’s going on now with the young contemporary artists,” Tracy tells One Country. “It’s all about creating an event. This was a way for us to create an event to get things rolling again for my career, and get my brand value back up. And I’ve been blessed with a lot of really good friends over the years, and a lot of these younger artists that are doing so well. If I didn’t have a really strong relationship with them, they were huge fans of mine. I think just being able to put this together speaks volume”
Tracy, who sounds just as good as he did in the ’90s, enlisted friends Tim McGraw, Justin Moore, Chris Young, Luke Bryan, Big & Rich, Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Kellie Pickler, Easton Corbin, Luke Combs and Craig Morgan—some of country’s most traditional voices —to add their vocals to his previous hit songs, on a brand new album, Good Ole Days.
“I started off with Tim [McGraw] and Jason [Aldean]. They were the first two,” Tracy said of his guest vocalists. “And I called them directly, and we just went down the list from there. Kellie and Chris are both on the same management company. They were easy picks. Chris had been singing ‘The Good Die Young’ at his house gig in Texas when we met years ago. It just kind of found its home. Most of [the songs] were picked by the artists. It was like once they came on board, ‘What do you want to do?’ And as the songs were picked, we just went down the list.”
The 49-year-old, who will turn 50 on Jan. 27, began his career in 1991 with his debut album Sticks and Stones, which produced his first No. 1 hit with the title track. Over his career Tracy has released 9 studio albums, one live album and a Christmas album, which have produced several No. 1 hits, including “Alibis”, “Can’t Break It to My Heart”, “My Second Home,” “If the Good Die Young,” “Texas Tornado,” “Time Marches On” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.”
With the exception of “My Second Home” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” which Tracy says is already a collaboration that couldn’t be improved upon, all the No. 1 hits can all be found on the new record. But of all the hits he had to choose from, which is a favorite of the Texas native?
“I have favorites for different reasons, but as far as the song and what it is and just the impact it’s had on my life, ‘Time Marches On’ is the big one for me. You know, it’s one of those career songs that can stand the test of time. It could be re-recorded in another 20 years and it could still be that impactful, because it’s a life song. And the way that it’s written, it’s so poetic, yet it says so much about the multiple generations in one family in 3 1/2 minutes. It’s absolutely a work of art.”
Aside from the 9 hits, “Good Ole Days” also features two original tracks—the album’s title track performed with Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down and Big & Rich and “Finally Home,” performed with Craig Morgan. A portion of the proceeds from “Finally Home” will be donated to Operation Finally Home—for which Craig is a spokesperson— a national non-profit organization that provides mortgage-free, custom-built homes to wounded, ill and injured veterans or widows and widowers of the fallen.
As we talked to Tracy about his album, he took us through a couple of the songs on the album, sharing his thoughts on the hits.
“Time Marches On” with Tim McGraw
“It’s pretty straight forward. Tim came in the studio. He was actually there when we tracked it. And as a lot of the earlier artists were, some of the first hub guys, the ones, the initial guys that we picked were actually there for tracking. It was great. We sat down, Tim and I got caught up. We’ve stayed in touch over the last several years, so it was good to actually see each other face-to-face and get to hang out for a little bit. He and I have been friends for a long time. So, that’s how it goes.”
“Alibis” with Justin Moore
“‘Alibis’ was Justin [Moore]. Justin is a really cool kid, and I didn’t realize what a big fan of mine he was. We both grew up in Arkansas, and he actually, affectionately told me that I was his Elvis. It was that big of a thing to him. I played the state fair in Little Rock and Justin brought his family out and got up and sang ‘Alibis,’ and an old George Strait song with me. So we got to spend a little time together in the middle of the week. He’s really a cool guy, and was a huge, huge fan of mine coming from Arkansas.”
“Sticks and Stones” with Luke Bryan
“‘Sticks and Stones’ was late in the project, and I’ve been around Luke [Bryan] a little bit, but he was actually not there for tracking. We went over to Blackbird [Studio], and Luke came in and sang on the record. It was real cool because my kids were there with me. We were actually heading down to the beach on vacation, so they got pictures with Luke, and they were all excited about that because, obviously, they are big Luke fans. He was very gracious and very sweet to my family.”
“Stars Over Texas” with Kellie Pickler
“Pickler. What can you say about Pickler? She is very sweet and very charming. I’d known her for some time, and been around her a little bit, but she did a version of ‘Santa Baby’ on a Christmas project a few years ago—I thought it was one of the greatest approaches to that song, however many zillions of times that thing has been cut. I just thought that she did such a great job on it. I love the way she sings traditional country songs. She has a really great traditional voice. It’s got a little sultriness to it, it’s got a little innocence to it. There’s just some texture in her voice, and I really thought that she would be the perfect person for this. She was very gracious to participate.”
“Can’t Break It To My Heart” with Jason Aldean
“Jason [Aldean]. One of the first guys picked. And this was the song Jason wanted to do. So we pretty much stayed straightforward with it. We pretty much went back and copied the original record. And he’s great. He came in, he did about three passes, and he was done. It was pretty quick. Jason and I have known each other for a while, so we actually made friends several years ago, early on in his career, before things really exploded for him. So I’ve known him for some time.”
Good Ole Days Track List
1. “Time Marches On” with Tim McGraw
2. “Sticks and Stones” with Luke Bryan
3. “Alibis” with Justin Moore
4. “Can’t Break It To My Heart” with Jason Aldean
5. “Good Ole Days” with Brad Arnold and Big & Rich
6. “If The World Had A Front Porch” with Luke Combs
7. “Texas Tornado” with Dustin Lynch
8. “Stars Over Texas” with Kellie Pickler
9. “If The Good Die Young” with Craig Morgan
10. “Paint Me A Birmingham” with Easton Corbin
11. “Finally Home” with Craig Morgan