See Tracy Lawrence in DL Thursday
Having just returned from a Caribbean vacation, Tracy Lawrence is “excited to get back to work” with his first concerts of 2014 — one of which will be a stop at Detroit Lakes’ Historic Holmes Theatre this Thursday, Jan. 16, for a 7:30 p.m. show.
“While it’s nice to get a little down time and recharge the batteries, it’ll be fun to get out and play again,” Lawrence said in a Tuesday interview. “It’s going to be a busy year. We already have over 50 dates booked.”
Thursday night’s show in Detroit Lakes will be an acoustic concert, which Lawrence readily admits is a style he prefers.
“When you don’t have a big production, you’re able to interact with the audience a little more, hear what people are saying,” Lawrence said. “It’s a little more fun.
“Acoustic shows are so much more intimate, and they’re a lot more spontaneous,” he explained. “I don’t go out with a structured set; I like to fly by the seat of my pants and play what I feel like playing. I get frustrated with being tied down to having to do the songs in the same sequence all the time.
“With a bigger show, things are a little more regimented … I enjoy being more spontaneous.”
At the same time, Lawrence said, he usually doesn’t take requests, as he prefers to save “the big impact songs” — his hits — for later in the show, to build up the momentum.
“I try to hold those for the end of the night,” Lawrence said of his chart-topping repertoire, which is actually pretty extensive.
Over a country music career that has spanned 22 years, the longtime Nashville resident has logged a total of 22 singles in Billboard’s Top 10 charts, with 18 of them reaching No. 1 status, and has sold over 13 million albums. Along the way, he has also garnered a plethora of CMA and ACM awards.
“I started playing music with a band when I was about 14,” Lawrence said. “I went on my first national tour in the fall of 1991.”
Some of his more well-known hits have included “Time Marches On,” “Paint Me a Birmingham,” “Lessons Learned,” “Alibis” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.”
This past August, Lawrence released his latest studio album, “Headlights, Taillights and Radios,” which he describes as “a little more progressive” than some of his previous efforts.
“I really wanted to try and grow as an artist, so I challenged myself to do some rangier things, with a little more dynamic production, a little less traditional country,” he said. “I wanted it to be more edgy and contemporary.
“I’m really proud of that record, I really pushed myself to grow and evolve and not let myself get stagnant. It’s real easy at this stage of a person’s career to get a little complacent.”
Lawrence also said he took a little longer to put his latest record together.
“It took almost two years, which is longer than usual,” he said. “I used some different players than I had in the past. It turned out really well.”
Though he will be playing some of the songs from that record, they will be interspersed with some of his fans’ favorites, and maybe even a favorite or two of his own.
“This is the time of year when I start changing the show up a little bit, working up some new songs, and revamping some old ones, just freshening everything up a bit.”
This also helps both Lawrence and his band to keep from burning out.
“Musically we try a lot of different to find ways to keep it creatively fresh, so it doesn’t get stagnant… create different arrangements, add some solos and segues, put together a group of songs as a medley,” he said. “You have to let the songs evolve, yet still keep enough of what made them hits in the first place.”
Lawrence also has high praise for his band members’ talents.
“I’ve got a great group of guys around me, a lot of seasoned professionals,” he said, noting that some of them had been touring with him for 12-14 years now.
While Lawrence enjoys the creative process of writing and recording his own music — he says he prefers collaborating with one or two other songwriters as opposed to writing tunes on his own — he also freely admits there’s nothing quite like the rush of performing live in concert.
“I love to tour,” he said. “Really, it’s the backbone of everything I do. I love the recording process … but there’s nothing like being able to go out on the road and get that feedback and connection with people. I don’t think I’ll ever lose the desire to do that.”
Lawrence fans in the lakes area will have a unique chance to make that connection up close and personal on Thursday. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show at the Historic Holmes Theatre are $30 for adults, $15 for students, and may be purchased by phone at 218-844-7469, online at www.dlccc.org, or by visiting the Holmes Box Office at 806 Summit Ave.
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