Music Review | Arkansas Craftsmanship

Made in America (2019)
by Tracy Lawrence

Arkansas is home to a long tradition of craftsmanship. From blacksmiths to musicians, from the nationally-renowned to local heroes, from ye olde days to the present, Arkansas is proud of all the creators who have drawn inspiration from her mountains, forests and rivers over the years.

Tracy Lawrence — not just an Arkansas native but a Foreman hometown boy — released his first album in 1991, and almost 30 years later, he is still putting out music that speaks to the southern small town experience.

He starts out his newest album with the title track, “Made in America,” a song in the long tradition of patriotic anthems that country music does most.

Lawrence honors many a country music tradition with this album — the quirky humorous take on a bad relationship in “Forgive Yourself,” the lament about a woman with “red lips, tanned skin” in “Nothin’ Burns Like You” and the proud ballad of those who grew up in the old southern way in “Just the South Comin’ Out.”

However, the strength in this album rests in “When the Cowboys Gone” and “Givin’ Momma Reasons to Pray.” Both speak to a sincerity normally found in the bluegrass flavor of country music. “Givin’ Momma Reasons to Pray” says it all in the title, but “When the Cowboys Gone” feels like more than a eulogy for the good ol’ boys of the cattle trail days.

“Well there’s always gonna be a bad guy,” Lawrence opens. Maybe that bad guy does not always carry a six-shooter, but most people have had some version of the thought, “Who’s gonna ride in and save the day?”

Probably not John Wayne, but while pondering the answer, listening to “Made in America” again isn’t such a bad idea.


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