Music review: Tracy Lawrence - ‘Made in America’

On his first album of original material in six years, country music veteran Tracy Lawrence delivers 12 straight-from-the-heart tracks brimming with bravado, charm, honesty and a down-home familiarity that touch upon elements of love, heartache, accountability, hard work and standing up for what you believe.

With “Made in America,” the Texas native relies on his proven blueprint for making heartfelt arrangements appealing to the common man that served him so well on releases like 1993’s “Alibis” and 1994’s “I See It Now.”

“It comes from hard-working hands and backs that don't break/Roots that run deep from all 50 states/It comes from the freedom born in every one of us,” declares Lawrence on the title track that kicks off the set with an anthem that’s full of guts, grind and glory.

The 51-year-old Lawrence continues his swagger on “When the Cowboy’s Gone.” This spirited number speaks directly to standing up for what is right and having the courage to live the walk and just not offer only talk when it comes to defending faith, family and upholding justice.

“Running Out of People to Blame” delivers a straightforward message about taking responsibility for your own actions instead of blaming those around you as Lawrence sings, “You’re running out of time, running out of answers/Burning up the road and all your second chances.”

“Work on My Willie” is a clever party track making references to country icons Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson while blowing off some steam at the local watering hole with a little assistance from good friends, plenty of adult beverages and a rousing band providing the evening’s soundtrack.

Additional highlights include the sentimental “Givin’ Momma Reasons to Pray,” a broken relationship revealed on “First Step to Leaving,” the hometown pride unleashed during “Just the South Comin’ Out” and the rowdy road trip tales shared on “Chicken Wire.”

The tone of the set can perhaps be summed up best when Lawrence sings, “There ain't no point in trying to hold it in/No matter where I go, I bring a piece of where I've been."

“Made in America” carries an infectious country, rock and blues vibe that clearly illustrates the love that Lawrence still has for performing.

Clint Rhodes is the Herald-Standard music reviewer. He can be reached at clinton43@me.com.

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