In an environment where new traditional artists are often treated like they have discovered something, Tracy Byrd has been a country standard-bearer for more than a decade.

In an environment where new traditional artists are often treated like they have discovered something, Tracy Byrd has been a country standard-bearer for more than a decade. He's got honky-tonk style and swagger to burn on such party cuts as "Drinkin' Bone," the frisky island romp "How'd I Wind Up in Jamaica" and the hilarious title cut. But Byrd is also a hell of a balladeer, his pliant vocal creating mood on "You Feel Good" and "Memories of Us," then evoking time and place on "Tiny Town" and a relationship's last rites on "When You Go." Byrd's versatility is perhaps best demonstrated by the seamless shift from a kick-out-the-jams romancer like "Baby Put Your Clothes On" to the powerhouse ballad "Somewhere I Wanna Go." There is an undeniable—and underserved—audience for Byrd's type of no-frills, top-shelf material, and given the chance at radio, he will prove it again.—RW

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