Picks and Pans Review: Strong

UPDATED 05/10/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/10/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

Tracy Lawrence

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While the title song is actually an homage to the resilience of women, Lawrence himself sounds forceful and reinvigorated on 12 interesting songs that suit his light macho style. "Stones," which traces the prevalence of its subject from diamond rings to headstones, is on the peculiar side. But "Paint Me a Birmingham," a poignant tale of a man trying to rewrite his history, is touching, and "Sawdust on Her Halo," a tribute to honky-tonk women, is a lively addition to the lexicon of country saloon music. With his sturdy look and easy, conversational style, Lawrence is among Nashville's most likable singers. This album only reinforces his standing.

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