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Sticks and Stones

Posted on

Sticks & Stones

Current Status:
In Season
Cher Lloyd

We gave it a B

Twenty-three-year-old Tracy Lawrence made news in Nashville right after he finished the vocals for Sticks and Stones, his album debut: He was shot four times in a local motel parking lot by would-be robbers. The singer recuperated after surgery, but his record shows he’s a survivor in a different way, too. Yet another of the ubiquitous hat acts making traditional honky-tonk music, Lawrence is a standout in an already crowded field. Like Alan Jackson, whom he physically resembles, Lawrence pairs a poised and confident baritone with witty and well-crafted songs that shed soft light in the dark corners of the human condition. The sensitive ballad ”Between Us,” for example, suggests it’s better to rethink a romantic commitment than simply to walk away, while ”Sticks and Stones” explores the aftermath of a broken marriage. Lawrence has a tendency to lapse into a laconic Keith Whitley impersonation (”Hope Heaven Has a Honky Tonk”), and the program suffers slightly from the exclusion of a killer song. But an otherwise & strong repertoire and sparkling production make this one of the most memorable debuts of the year. A-