Black Music Matters Festival

Tracy Lawrence

The Rock – 2009 (Rocky Comfort)

Reviewed by Jessica Phillips

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CDs by Tracy Lawrence

On the heels of his successful Tim McGraw-Kenny Chesney collaboration, Find Out Who Your Friends Are, Tracy Lawrence's latest is an uplifting set filled with Christian songs in the vein of Randy Travis' "Rise and Shine." The songs here don't quite have the same lyrical punch as some of Travis' work, but it is a solid album nonetheless. Lawrence's warm baritone and effortless, emotional delivery make each track sound genuine and heartfelt.

I'm Done is a standout on this album, a frank glimpse into a pivotal moment, when one stops blaming other people for his own mistakes. It's honest without being preachy, determined without being depressing.

"I'm done harbouring grudges and nursing old wounds
Done clinging to old crutches and singin' the blues
I'm done pointing fingers to everyone else
I'm taking a long hard look at myself
A new day has begun, I'm done"

Somebody Who Would Die For You is the tear-jerker. Lawrence reminds us not to overlook those who love us the most - whether it's a homeless man and former soldier who almost died for his country, a father who would do anything for more time with his grown-up children or Christ.

Lawrence turns it up a notch with Jesus, Come Talk to Your Children, although it sounds a little more soulful and churchy than other tunes. It adds a good groove to an album filled with mostly mid to slow tempo songs.

The Book You Never Read is an arresting tale told from the viewpoint of the Bible. With lines like "Your grandparents placed their hands on me when they wed/I'm in the drawer by your bed/I'm the Book you never read," it reaches out to a prodigal son, urging him to pick up the Book that his family has passed down to him.

This is the kind of Christian album country fans should love - the same top-notch country arrangements they have come to expect from Lawrence, but with positive lyrics and stirring messages.