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Tracy Lawrence

Then & Now: The Hits Collection – 2005 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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CDs by Tracy Lawrence

Like many of his hit-making contemporaries, Tracy Lawrence's collection includes 2 new songs out of 17 in a career dating back to 1991 with his first single, "Sticks And Stones," going to the top. But those two tunes are classic Lawrence - standing right up there with many of the hits that he consistently delivered during the 1990's.

"If I Don't Make It Back," co-written by country newcomer Bobby Pinson - tugs at the heartstrings given the current situation in Iraq. It's about a soldiergoing to a bar with his buddies and telling them everything he wants them to do if he dies while serving his country.

"Used to the Pain" is a ballad in which a man asks himself whether his heart is still broken or just used to the pain. Lawrence was smart enough to include a pair of early hits like "Sticks and Stones" and "My Second Home" along with singles that defined his career like "Texas Tornado" and "Time Marches On," although hits "Runnin' Behind" and "Better Man, Better Off" are not.