One more time: Tracy Lawrence is performing like a hot young gun again |

One more time: Tracy Lawrence is performing like a hot young gun again

If the crowd asks Tracy Lawrence for “one more” at the end of his musical set Saturday, don’t be surprised if his first reaction isn’t a smile. He might even wince, and maybe he’ll grab his shoulder.

By coming to Tahoe, Lawrence is returning to the most painful event of his life. And it occurred after everyone agreed to just “one more.” The incident happened in 2001 on Heavenly Mountain Resort’s aptly named Gunbarrel run.

“The last time I skied Heavenly, I dislocated my shoulder,” Lawrence said. “I had been skiing pretty heavy for three days. There were six of us and we’d been skiing black (diamond runs) all over the mountain. And it’s always that last run. We made it back down to the bottom of the mountain and everybody said, let’s go one more time.”

Lawrence’s spirited singing style is not just an on-stage characteristic. Apparently he’s free-spirited in his off time as well.

“Everybody else took an easier slope,” he said. “I hit a patch of ice and slipped back. It sounded like a gun going off. It was the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life. I picked my skis up and slid down to the medic on my rear end. It was bad, dude.”

Lawrence won’t be skiing during this visit to Tahoe. He’s taking his family to a Hannah Montana concert in Nashville on Friday, so he will be flying into Tahoe just before Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. concert.

Lawrence, who rose to the top of the country music world during the genre’s heyday in the early ’90s, is riding the wave of a successful comeback.

A year ago he started Rocky Comfort Records and had his first No. 1 hit in 10 years. “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” was the 17th No. 1 song in his career. The single, which also featured Lawrence’s friends Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, was named Musical Event of the Year at the Country Music Awards.

“It makes me feel good about our knowledge of the business,” Lawrence said. “Low and behold if we didn’t have a No. 1 right out of the box.”

In October, Lawrence released his second album on his label entitled “Tracy Lawrence – All Wrapped Up For Christmas.”

“We’ll play a couple of the Christmas songs for you (in Tahoe),” Lawrence said. “I took it from a jazz perspective. There are jazz arrangements with a country sound.”

Another song Lawrence likely will play will be the previous album’s title track “For The Love,” a song recorded with his Nashville neighbor Brad Arnold, the lead singer of Three Doors Down.

“He’s been a country fan for a long time and he wanted to sing on a country record,” Lawrence said. “I found that particular song. It’s probably the most poppy song on that album. The rest is straight-ahead country. I thought it was good title track for the album. It’s about being passionate about whatever you do in your life. I felt that type of song fit both of us.”

Lawrence’s big break in music is something that could be depicted in a movie.

“I moved to Nashville in the fall of 1990 in a beat-up old car with a few hundred bucks in my pocket,” he said.

Lawrence found a place to live and got himself a day job. He would go to clubs every night and try to play. Representatives of Atlantic Records attended one of the shows in which Lawrence played. They were so impressed they signed him on the spot.

“The next thing you know I’m in a studio in May of ’91 making my first album,” Lawrence said. “And I never knocked on a label door. I never even did a demo. I never pitched anything out there. It was really strange the way that happened. They came and heard me. I played them a couple of songs and the next thing you know I’m cutting masters. That’s not the norm. That’s just not the way things are done in Nashville.”

Lawrence was part of the country’s most successful generation – young country – which included Travis Tritt, Garth Brooks, Mark Chesnutt and Little Texas.

“There was just a huge influx of diverse, new talent, and it was a great time because everybody was having success,” Lawrence said. “Record labels were making lots of money. We were selling lots of albums and we were selling out everywhere we went.”

The heyday lasted about a half-decade.

“In ’96-97 they started getting cookie-cutter sounding,” Lawrence said. “It sounded watered-down and the record labels dictated what everybody recorded. They were picking really safe singles. Everybody started sounding the same and we started cycling out.”

But country showed a resiliency in the new millennium.

“The pendulum started swinging back and artists started taking more control of their careers,” said Lawrence, who once again is among those leading the charge.

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