Album Review: Tracy Lawrence’s ‘Good Ole Days’

Over the past few years, many fans of country music have begun to treat the sounds of the 1990’s with a great deal of fondness. In a sense, 90’s country has become something of a sub-genre of sorts, with many radio stations featuring a format that focuses on music from that particular era.

At the heart of that time period was Tracy Lawrence. An Arkansas native, the singer made his initial impact on the scene with the 1991 release of his debut single “Sticks and Stones.” From that point, the singer was off to the races with hit after hit. Over the years, Lawrence has managed to stay relevant as a recording artist, with hits like “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” a CMA Award-winning collaboration with longtime pals Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.

For Lawrence’s new album, Good Ole Days, collaborations are the name of the game, as the singer matched his previous hits with a wide variety of today’s biggest recording artists. McGraw – one of the singer’s oldest friends from his early days in Nashville – lends his signature style to “Time Marches On,” which leads off the disc. Arguably the crown jewel in Lawrence’s catalog, you can easily hear the pair’s friendship with each line of the song.

Tracy Lawrence, Good Ole Days; Photo courtesy Splash Publicity

Luke Bryan guests on a cover of the breakthrough hit “Sticks and Stones,” and though he doesn’t get much praise for his vocal approach, if you can honestly listen to this track and think that Bryan is something other than “country,” you need to listen again….and again. It’s one of the highlights of the disc.

Other top moments on the album include “Alibis,” which features some incredible vocalizing from Justin Moore, Luke Combs’ faithful take on “If The World Had A Front Porch,” and Dustin Lynch’s sterling performance on “Texas Tornado,” which recalls such earlier Lynch work as “Cowboys and Angels.”

For the most part, this album features male artists, but the departure from that trend comes with Kellie Pickler’s contribution to “’Stars Over Texas.” No matter what Pickler records, she’s good. But, when she lets her Carolina twang show, as she did on her 2012 album 100 Proof, she’s even better. Pickler is one of the truly gifted vocalists in the business.

There are also a few new songs along the way. Craig Morgan teams up with the singer on the heart-tugging “Finally Home,” while 3 Doors Down lead singer Brad Arnold and Big & Rich stop by for the thought-provoking title cut (Were the 90s really the ‘Good Ole Days?’). Why, yes, they were…..and a lot more. Lawrence takes us back to a time where the music was a lot different, and seemed to bring the format together a lot more than it does today. This is a great reminder of how great that time was, and also how great Lawrence’s artistry was – and is!