Tracy Lawrence to perform Sunday at Weinberg Center
It was just after 8 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in Nashville, Tenn., and Tracy Lawrence might have been dragging a bit, but he was already fielding a reporter’s questions.
“I was out a little late last night. I played the Rascal Flatts golf tournament for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital yesterday so it was all the way on the other side of town and it was a long, hot day,” he said during a telephone interview from his home outside Music City.
But any fatigue he was experiencing didn’t keep Lawrence from talking about his upcoming show at Weinberg Center for the Arts. The country music artist will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at the venue, 20 W. Patrick St., in downtown Frederick.
Lawrence has sold 13 million albums and has had 18 No. hits, including “Alibis,” “Sticks and Stones” and “Time Marches On.” He said fans who attend the show can expect to hear many of those singles.
“I try to play the bulk of my hits. The things that people are familiar with from the years. A few album tracks, we just have fun. I like to play live music and interact with people, so hopefully, if you like country music, you’ll enjoy what I do,” he said.
Lawrence is set to release a new album, “Good Ole Days,” on Friday, Nov. 10. The album is a series of duets between Lawrence and other country music artists, performing some of his biggest hits in his signature baritone, including “Can’t Break it to my Heart,” “Texas Tornado,” and “Paint Me a Birmingham.” He said he will perform new music from that album at the Frederick gig.
“We’re actually in the process of releasing a new album here very soon so I’m gonna be playing a few songs off of that new project,” he said.
As for choosing artists to perform with him on the album, Lawrence said it wasn’t a difficult call.
“The first two were dear friends ...Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean. And from there, I called other friends that were interested, a few guys that I had met once or twice. Justin Moore is actually a native of Arkansas where I grew up, so he was excited about being on the project. You know, it just kind of took shape as we went along,” he said.
Besides performing 90 to 100 shows a year and recording new music, Lawrence hosts “Honky Tonkin’ with Tracy Lawrence,” a syndicated weekly radio show that airs on more than 60 radio stations across the country, including locally at WICL 95.9 FM.
The show features hits from the 1980s, ‘90s and early 2000s, along with interviews and audience interaction. Lawrence said he enjoys doing the show.
“I like the older music and it lets me have a chance to stay connected to that, and set down with my peers from time to time and have good conversation,” he said.
A mass communications major when he attended Southern Arkansas University in the late 1980s, Lawrence wasn’t a complete stranger to the radio studio.
“I worked at the campus radio station, so it’s taken a little bit of an adjustment to get back to that, but I do enjoy it,” he said.
Earlier this year, Lawrence was nominated for National On-Air Personality of the Year at the 52nd Academy of Country Music Radio Awards. Lawrence said the award took him by surprise. “(I was) very honored to be nominated in that category, but I was up against some guys that have been doing this for a long time so when I say that, I genuinely mean it,” he said.
In the end, the award went to Lon Helton, longtime host of weekly radio show Country Countdown USA.
Lawrence said Helton was a worthy recipient of the accolade.
“Lon Helton ... and those guys, I’ve been friends with them for years and they all absolutely phenomenal at what they do and they’ve been doing it a long time,” he said.
Beyond Sunday’s show and the new album release, Lawrence said he’s looking ahead to his Mission Possible Turkey Fry next month.
“That will be the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We actually will cook about 600 turkeys and feed the homeless the week of Thanksgiving. This will be my 12th year. So we’re excited about that,” he said.
Lawrence said he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, or in this case greasy, for the event that benefits the Nashville Rescue Mission.
“I usually get there about 6:30 in the morning. We cook all day, start cleaning up in the late afternoon and by the time it gets dusk out, I’m over at the venue preparing to do the concert where we actually raise the money for the Mission. So it’s a full day,” he said.