Country star finds stability with new label and peace at home

Tracy Lawrence brings country back to Texarkana

BY TERRY MATHEWS | News-Telegram Arts Editor

May 3, 2007 - After surviving five record label mergers in six years, country music artist Tracy Lawrence decided enough was enough.

Tracy Lawrence

Lawrence decided to find some professional stability and started his own recording company, Rocky Comfort Records, with his brother in June of 2006. 

�I was officially let go from Mercury in January of last year,� Lawrence said Tuesday during a phone interview from his home in Nashville. �We licensed our record label in June and our first single� came out and here it is May of 2007, less than a year later. We already have a top 10 record with a new imprint, a totally new business model that hasn�t been done before and an album that�s doing well on the charts. We�re in a good place.�

The album is called “For the Love.” It’s currently ranked number 22 on the Top Country Albums at Billboard Magazine.

�It�s going to take a little time to build up to the level of a big label,� Lawrence said, �but the album is doing well.�

Lawrence, who was born in Atlanta, TX, and raised in nearby Foreman, AR, got a clear vision for his new record after touring with country legend George Strait.

�When I toured with Strait last year, it hit me in the head like a ton of bricks how many people out there still love traditional country music,� Lawrence explained. �I just decided it was time to get back into my comfort zone and make that the core of my music from now on.�

The new CD is chock full of tunes that harken back to a more traditional time in country music.

�I think everybody has been chasing the pop direction so hard for the last several years,� Lawrence said. �But I came to Nashville to make country records.�

The single, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” is a great reminder of how lucky we are to have people who will stand by us, in good times and bad. 

Lawrence also includes another cut of “Find Out” with special appearances by his long-time friends Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. It wasn’t as simple as just having McGraw and Chesney show up at the studio and lay down the tracks.

�I didn�t realize what the people in our back office do,� Lawrence said, speaking of the staff who secure clearances for guest artists. �This thing with Tim and Kenny almost didn�t happen. We got clearances for them just in time for the single make it on the album.�

Other standouts on the new record are the title cut, about those who serve, and “‘Til I Was a Daddy Too,” which Lawrence co-wrote. Lawrence says “‘Til I Was a Daddy Too” will most likely be the next single to be released.

�You Can�t Hide Redneck� gently chides those who tries to hide their country roots. It will make a great summer song, and promises to provide a lot of laughs at class reunions.

Lawrence is particularly proud of “Speed of Flight,” a waltz he wrote.

�It�s the first song I�ve recorded that I wrote by myself,� Lawrence said. �I was on the bus and I just locked the door and wrote.�

In less than four hours, he had a song.

�It�s really satisfying,� he said. �I�ve had a writer�s block, but I�m starting to find my zone again.�

Lawrence has found more than a productive professional zone. After a rough few years, Lawrence’s personal life is finally in a good place.

He and his wife are the parents of two young girls, Skylar , 6, and Keegan, who just turned 4.

The toughest part of his life now is being away from home.

�The one thing I struggle with most right now with my career going so well is I�ve been gone from my family a lot,� Lawrence said. �I just missed Keegan�s birthday.�

About his earlier life, Lawrence says, “I made a lot of mistakes when I was young. It’s tough to be a young artist and fall down, but I have perseverance and I’m just thankful that I’ve found stability at home. That’s what I was missing. I have a great family and a wonderful home life. It’s given me peace of mind.”

With his own record label, a new album and peace at home, Tracy Lawrence’s life is running in greased grooves. 

No matter what happens, he’ll be able to make the kind of traditional country music he loves. He’s found a home.

After all, he says, “Now, nobody can drop me from my label.”

Lawrence will sign copies of the new album today at Wal-Mart at 133 Arkansas Blvd., Texarkana, beginning at 6 p.m. Call 870-772-1501 for more details.

On Friday night, Lawrence will perform a Homecoming Concert at the Four States Fair and Rodeo Grounds.

The doors open at 6 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m. All seats are reserved, with tickets priced at $35, $30 and $25. For ticket information, call 870-773-2941.

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