Tracy Byrd finds himself as the star of the iconic “Live at Billy Bob’s” series – his latest release. The Texas native has the rare luxury of achieving so much chart success that it’s impossible to fit them into a single show. But this live nineteen-song collection manages to include radio classics, dance floor staples, and brand-new tunes that already feel standard-worthy.
Tracy placed at least one single on the Billboard airplay charts for an impressive 14 consecutive years. For a male solo act that debuted in the nineties, Tracy ranked at the top with the best of them – that continuous span was only beat by a few of his contemporaries. Tim McGraw currently holds the most consecutive years with 27, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith (26), Brad Paisley and Keith Urban (20), Tracy Lawrence (18), and Trace Adkins (16).
The numbers don’t halt there. During this show, Tracy mentions that he’s played over 4,000 shows over the trek of his career. As his children got older, he took a respite from touring and recording and has since returned to the national scene with a band that sounds better than ever.
A scaled-down vinyl version, Tracy’s first vinyl release is also available. The track listing is slightly rearranged and omits several cuts that the digital and CD version offers, but still is a must-have for any country fans collection.
“It’s About the Pain,” a song from his last album, kicks off this 75-minute honky-tonk revival. In the early 2000s, “Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo” ruled the radio FACT – this live version even has an incredible horn section. The song transitions flawlessly into “I’m From the Country” – his 1998 Marty Brown-penned hit that concertgoers jubilantly sing along to, without missing a beat. Also, the fiery fiddle solo heightens the scene.
A new song, “Hot Night in the Country,” is a romance-filled, sultry offering. Another selection from his “I From the Country” disc followed – the longing “I Wanna Feel That Way Again.” The tempo speeds up with the title track of his 1988 MCA album, “Big Love,” one of the decade’s best.
The classic country vibes of “Love Lessons” are exactly what country radio needs now; this 1995 single hit #9 on the charts. He follows with his first number one record, “Holdin’ Heaven.” The classic country vibes aren’t just a theme; they are a way of a musical life. “Someone to Give My Love To” is proof of that.
Two cover songs, “Lonesome, On’ry, and Mean” and “Wildfire,” showcase his appreciation towards tradition, honoring the vocalists who blazed the country trails. “Before I Die” and “Only Jesus” round out the set before Tracy brings out the mega hits that make him a country music superstar. His ACM Song of the Year “Keeper of the Stars” provides an intimate moment before the high octane “Drinkin’ Bone.” The set concludes with “Don’t Take Her She’s All I Got” and the line-dance anthem “Watermelon Crawl.”
This entire album brilliantly captures an artist who has cemented his place in country music history and continues to contribute greatly to the genre.