The title of Tracy Lawrence's 2005 album Then & Now: The Hits Collection suggests that it's a greatest hits album -- in fact, the sticker on the front cover bills the album as a "greatest hits" -- but that's a little misleading. Instead of being a compilation of original hit recordings, Then and Now finds Lawrence revisiting a selection of his biggest hits -- such as "Sticks and Stones," "Alibis," "Texas Tornado" and "Time Marches On" -- adding two new songs ("Used to the Pain" and the war-themed "If I Don't Make It Back") to the mix. These new versions are a little more laid-back than the originals, and they're a little slicker too. And while that doesn't necessarily suit Lawrence's voice, which has grown a little thinner over the years, that doesn't make Then and Now a bad listen. It's a mellow, mature, comfortable record that finds Lawrence in a warm, reflective mood, and if his fans share his mood, they should find this enjoyable.
Then & Now: The Hits Collection Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine