Tracy Lawrence evolves classic songs

Country icon, Tracy Lawrence, is now a free man, in terms of the music industry. He’s started his own record label, and he’s begun doing things his way, which is good news for fans.

Though he’s already released some great records since becoming independent, my favorite one is his album of re-recorded hits: “Greatest Hits: Evolution.”

Re-records are historically hit or miss. Unfortunately, most of the ones I hear are either poor or lackluster. For those who don’t know, the reason these records are usually done is so the artist can have versions of these songs available for licensing opportunities, such as movies and commercials. The artist then has control of what their music is used for, and they get most, if not all of the money.

The problem is most people want the original recordings, and re-records usually don’t sound similar enough to cut it. They usually reflect how the artist performs the songs at that time.

This could mean that the songs are in different keys or tempos, the lyrics could be slightly different, or the arrangements could be different. Lawrence is one of the few to make an exception.

The album opens with one of his biggest hits, “Time Marches On.” The first time I listened to it, I honestly thought it was the original recording. Lawrence and the band are that good at recreating these classics.

My problem with this record is I can hear autotune being used on Lawrence’s vocals, when it’s not necessary. It’s not very noticeable, but it’s still there. Autotune is usually used to hide vocal flaws, but after watching several recent videos of Lawrence performing these songs live, it’s very clear that he doesn’t need autotune; his voice is just as good as it ever was.

By far, my favorite song on the album is “Texas Tornado.” While I’ve always loved this song, this version is addicting. Out of all the songs on the album, this one highlights how good the production is. The sound is bigger and warmer, and the chorus hits you right between the eyes.

All of Lawrence’s biggest hits are included, like “Alibis,” “If The World Had a Front Porch” and “Paint Me a Birmingham.”

I wouldn’t normally review an album of re-records, because there’s usually not much to it, but this album really left an impression on me. It’s probably the best album of re-records I’ve heard yet. Whether you’re a hardcore fan, or just somebody wanting to get ahold of these songs, I highly recommend “Greatest Hits: Evolution.” Time might keep marching on, but this music is timeless.

For more information, visit www.tracylawrence.com.