This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Tracy Lawrence's first number one record -- "Sticks and Stones." The singer admits that he takes a lot of pride in looking back at his first trip to the top.
"It's real exciting looking back," he says. "We just celebrated 20 years of the record going No. 1. It peaked January 25, 1992. It's been a great journey."
Part of the fun of that "journey" to Lawrence is the fact that the singer also takes a lot of pride in the songs he recorded.
"That has been really satisfying," the singer said in a chat with Billboard. "I think I am most happy with the fact that it still all sounds up to date. It crosses age boundaries. I still see people react to it night after night, from the stuff back to 'Sticks And Stones' to 'Alibis,' and the early part of my career. I am proud because I was hands on in selecting all the material… I picked mostly everything I've released as a single. I still love those songs."
Other people love them too. Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan have been performing "Time Marches On," a 1996 hit for Tracy, during their recent concert dates together, a fact that honors the singer. "I talked to Jason the other day to thank him. I had some people send me the video link that they had recorded. It's pretty cool to know that my music has influenced some of this generation."
It was another generation that Lawrence came up with -- that of Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, who he collaborated with on the CMA Award-winning "You Find Out Who Your Friends Are." Of their relationship together, Lawrence said "The three of us were friends all the way back in the early 1990s. When I got to Nashville, Tim was already here. He had a record deal already. The first time I took a bus trip was with McGraw. It was before I even had my record deal, the spring before I cut 'Sticks and Stones.' I remember we played Shreveport at a club I used to frequent before I moved to Nashville. All three of us ran together a lot, and chased the skirts and all that. We had a good time back then. We talked about making a record together for a long time. When I found that song, it seemed to scream our life experience and what we had been through. I thought it was the perfect opportunity for us to make a record. It was a big impact record for me."
Another big record in Lawrence's career was 1995's "If The World Had A Front Porch." He remembers it fondly.
"It was one of the first things I wrote that I had a lot of chart success with. It was written from my childhood experiences. When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in the summer. My grandpa died when I was fourteen. He had emphysema and was real frail. He didn't really deal with the cold a lot, but would stay out on the porch where he could stay warm, and I'd sit out there with him," he remembers.
Lawrence has just released a new single titled "Pills" from his acoustic LP "The Singer." "I wrote it with Phil O'Donnell. We had a writing appointment scheduled one morning. I had been watching the news that morning, and there was a report that we were turning into a society of emotional zombies, in regards to all the medications that people were taking. I chewed on it a while, and when Phil got there, we started talking about that idea. That's where 'Pills' came from. We decided that it would be real good if we kept it tongue in cheek, and wrote about all the ways that people abuse medication. People love that song," he says.
Lawrence plans to release a new studio record later in 2012.