I caught up with Tracy Lawrence as he was on his way home from a benefit concert for handicapped children in Baton Rouge, La. In addition to Clay Walker and Marty Raybon, members of the "Dukes of Hazards" cast, as well as Donna Douglas, who played Ellie Mae Clampett on the TV show "Beverly Hillbillies," also made appearances.
When Lawrence comes to the Phenix City Amphitheater on Friday he won't have such robust company, but he and his band "really try to rock the house as much as we can," he said.
Rising to fame in the early 1990s with his first album and single "Sticks and Stones," Lawrence has a traditional country sound that helped him garner No. 1 hits with "Alibis," "Can't Break it To My Heart," "Time Marches On" and "Find Out Who Your Friends Are."
His sound isn't necessarily as edgy as the rock- and pop-infused country music of today, but he said he's seen country music periodically swing in those directions and eventually come back to a more traditional sound.
However, on the upcoming "Headlights, Taillights and Radios," his first album in almost four years, he explores both of those sounds.
"The title says what the record is about," Lawrence said, explaining that the headlights represent an edgier, more progressive country sound, while the taillights shine on his traditional country roots. "Headlights, Taillights and Radios" is expected to be released in May 2013.
Lawrence said those who attend the show on Friday can expect to hear some material from the upcoming album, including its first single "Stop, Drop and Roll," as well as all of his greatest hits.
"I try to do as many of the older ones as I can," he said, noting that while the audience responds well to the hits, they are also eager to hear his new material.
The Jason Connelly Band will open for Lawrence on Friday night. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $27.50-$45 and can be purchased online at www.ANightofCountry.com, by phone at 800-514-3849; or in person at Mad Grill (1212 280 Bypass, Phenix City), Carl Gregory Hyundai (3000 North Parkway No. 200, Columbus) or at the Amphitheater the night of the event. Discounted tickets are available to military personnel at the Fort Benning MWR.