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Tracy Byrd

Keepers (Greatest Hits) – 1999 (MCA)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Tracy Byrd

Independent of his musical mentors George Strait and Mark Chesnutt and childhood influences, yet still aware enough of them to retain some classic country elements, Tracy Byrd has emerged as a legacy of the 1990's "Hat Act" boom.

This includes 10 singles in chronological order, prefaced by a new song. "When Mama Ain't Happy" continues in the upbeat dance tradition of "Watermelon Crawl" and "Lifestyles Of The Not So Rich And Famous." A radio version of the wedding favorite, "Keeper Of The Stars," finds Byrd singing in a lower key with a slightly different instrumental mix than the original.

Other standouts are the two classic Johnny Paycheck remakes. "Someone To Give My Love To," was Byrd's very first single back in 1993, and in 1997 he returned to the same source for a spirited turn on "Don't Take Her She's All I Got."

"Heaven In My Woman's Eyes," written by Mark Nesler when a member of Byrd's touring band, isn't a classic, but sounds like one with a Tex-Mex Marty Robbins-style sound.

"I'm From The Country" should be Byrd's theme song with the declaration that, "That's where I'm from, and I'm proud to say, I'm from the country, and I like it that way." Judging from this first solid collection of hits, I'd say that his fans agree.