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Tracy Lawrence

Strong – 2004 (DreamWorks Nashville)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Tracy Lawrence

After a decade with Atlantic and a lone effort for Warner Brothers in 2001, Tracy Lawrence moves to DreamWorks Nashville.

Lawrence remains an effective vocalist, though some of the tracks here are not well suited for his voice. The vocals are buried in the mix of thumping drums and loud guitars in "It's All How You Look At It" and "What The Flame Feels Like." It is on the ballads that Lawrence is most adept, particularly in the companion pieces "When Daddy Was A Strong Man" and the title track, an homage to the struggle of single mothers.

Lawrence also tackles some serious topics. "Think Of Me" is a salute to the policeman, firefighters and soldiers who serve bravely but are too often underappreciated and "The Questionnaire" is a haunting tale of a disintegrating relationship. Unfortunately the latter is encumbered by sappy strings whichtransitions awkwardly into more thrashing drums and an incongruous heavy metal guitar solo.

Lawrence has some good moments in his return to recording, but too much of "Strong" is hampered by clich+d, mainstream production.