probable hits, smooth ballads

I See It Now (Atlantic)

Tracy Lawrence

By Michael W. Stout

Tracy Lawrence's third Atlantic release, I See It Now, is a fine serving of deeply rooted country tunes mixed with a dash of soul and a heaping portion of rockabilly. If you've been craving some real country music, then this album will curb your appetite with a meal only Lawrence knows how to fix.

This album has only a few selections you won't eat up right away, but it has several tunes that have the potential to become classic Lawrence tunes deserving of second or third helpings. These tunes exhibit Lawrence's musical growth and maturity and allow him to shine with his own unique style.

The title track is a prime example of one of these classics. This smooth ballad is a desperate realization of how a man finally sees too late how wonderful his old love is. It is emphasized with piano and fine blues fiddle in the background.

"The Cards" is yet another potentially classic ballad dealing with a man torn between holding onto the memory of his old ?ame by keeping the Hallmark cards she sent him, or letting her go by throwing them away.

The most fun song in this collection is the very up-tempo, "God Made Woman on a Good Day," which starts off as a soulful spiritual and cuts loose into a rockabilly number. This song will have you listening figuratively with your toes, unconsciously tapping them from the first note.

Elsewhere, I got a feelin' that "I Got A Feelin"' will be a chart-topper for Lawrence. In fact, we'll probably see some really big hits off this album.

The drawbacks to the Artifacts are that they are strong but not necessarily flashy, and their songs tend to run together in the mind. There's nothing that makes any one song stand out. Although consistently solid efforts are respected, they are not always wildly popular.

If the Artifacts have staying power, some fans may eventually be won over. But in the topsy-turvy world of rap, such lofty goals are the stuff from which broken dreams are made.