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Tracy Lawrence Biography
Part of the commercial rise of rock-tinged honky tonk in the
early '90s, Tracy Lawrence was one of the decade's most reliable
country hitmakers. Born in Atlanta, TX, in 1968, he grew up mostly in
Foreman, AR, where he soaked up traditional and outlaw country as well
as Southern rock. He started performing in public when he was 15 and
was a regular presence on the local honky tonk circuit by 17. After
college, he moved to Nashville in 1990 and worked day jobs while
winning numerous talent shows. That led to a live radio performance
and, in 1991, a showcase gig that netted him a deal with Atlantic.
In May 1991, just prior to the scheduled release of Lawrence's debut
album, he was walking a girlfriend back to her hotel room when the two
were mugged by several gun-wielding attackers. Lawrence fought back to
allow his companion time to escape and was shot four times; two bullets
only grazed him, but one had to be surgically removed from his knee,
and the other remained deeply embedded in his pelvis. Fortunately, he
progressed rapidly through physical therapy, and the album, Sticks and
Stones, was released later in the year when Lawrence could return to
promotional duties. Its lead single, the title track, went all the way
to number one on the country charts, helped out by all the publicity.
More hits followed in the Top Tens Runnin' Behind, Today's Lonely
Fool, and Somebody Paints the Wall, and Lawrence was on his way to
stardom. He arrived there with Alibis, the platinum-selling 1993
follow-up that produced an astounding four chart-topping singles: the
title track, Can't Break It to My Heart, My Second Home, and If
the Good Die Young.
In 1994, Lawrence contributed the Top Ten hit Renegades, Rebels and
Rogues to the soundtrack of the movie version of Maverick and also
released his third album, I See It Now. Texas Tornado became his
sixth number one hit, and three more singles -- the title track, As
Any Fool Can See, and If the World Had a Front Porch -- all went to
number two. Somewhat lost in all the success was Lawrence's arrest that
same year on a weapons charge, but it didn't slow his career momentum
at all. He tossed off the Live and Unplugged set in 1995, which
compiled acoustic tracks and concert performances with his backing
band, Little Elvis. In 1996, he returned with the proper follow-up
album Time Marches On. The title track was a huge hit, topping the
country charts, and If You Love Me, Stars Over Texas, and Is That
a Tear all went Top Five. His hit streak continued with 1997's The
Coast Is Clear, which contained two more Top Five singles in the title
track and Better Man, Better Off.
However, all was not well behind the scenes. In January 1998, Lawrence
was convicted on charges stemming from an incident in which his wife
accused him of hitting and threatening her; the couple soon divorced.
Lawrence laid low for a while, putting his life back together, and
returned in 2000 with the uneven but highly personal Lessons Learned.
The title track was a Top Five smash, but it was the only major hit
from the record, and Lawrence soon parted ways with Atlantic. He
subsequently signed with Warner Brothers and debuted for them in 2001
with an album titled simply Tracy Lawrence. Despite some good reviews,
it failed to halt his downward commercial momentum. Lawrence released
the studio album Strong in 2004 and a greatest-hits set through
Dreamworks Nashville a year later. For the Love arrived in the early
2007. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide
Written by Steve Huey