Music

Tracy Lawrence Remembers His First Time Hearing 'Sticks and Stones' on the Radio [Interview]

Tracy Lawrence performs at CountryFlo Music & Camping Festival at Triple Canopy Ranch on Friday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Lake Wales, Fla. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Tracy Lawrence's "Sticks and Stones," the title track of his 1991 debut album for Atlantic Records, should be considered one of the best career-launching singles of its time, based on both its chart impact and its staying power.

The first single by Lawrence, who'd just moved from Tennessee to Texas in 1990, topped the charts in both the U.S. and Canada and finished a respectful 28th on Billboard's 1992 Year-End chart--a ridiculous list of '90s country songs topped by Wynonna's "I Saw the Light" and featuring Reba McEntire's "Is There Life Out There," Alan Jackson's "Midnight in Montgomery"," Alabama's "Born Country,' Garth Brooks' "The River," George Strait's "Gone as a Girl Can Get" and Vince Gill's "I Still Believe in You."

Lawrence's first hit finally felt real after he heard it on the radio, even if he planned out when and how he'd first catch the Roger Dillon and Elbert West co-write over commercial airwaves.

"I was going back home to see my family," the Atlanta, Texas native explains. "It had been released and it'd been out for a couple of weeks, but I hadn't heard it played on the radio. I wanted to hear it in my car because when you're young, everything you do is in your vehicle, whether it's a car or truck. I was always listening to music in my car."

To make sure "Sticks and Stones" played en route to Texas, Lawrence paid a Louisiana radio station a visit.

"I'd gone to Shreveport. I grew up on the North side of Texarkana. Shreveport was on the South side and the top part of Louisiana," he explains. "I don't remember what the radio station was back then, but I'd gone by that station. I asked them if they would wait until I got about an hour out of the station after I left and play 'Sticks and Stones' for me so I could hear it in my car. I remember literally having to pull over on the side of the road just crying. It was so overwhelming for me because I'd dreamed about it for so long, and here it was actually happening. It was on my car radio, being played for everybody to hear."

Read More: 'Texas Tornado' and Nine Other All-Time Great Tracy Lawrence Songs

Beyond its title track, the James Stroud-produced album Sticks and Stones includes three additional hit singles ("Today's Lonely Fool," "Runnin' Behind" and "Somebody Paints the Wall"), future Kenny Chesney cut "Paris, Tennessee" plus classic country throwbacks "Dancin' to Sweet 17," "April's Fool" and "I Hope Heaven Has a Honky Tonk." It's one of the decade's best debuts by a country music artist, despite lacking the multi-platinum status earned by future Lawrence releases Alibis (1993) and Time Marches On (1996).

"Sticks and Stones" Lyrics

You can take the house and everything in it
Keep the diamond ring 'cause that's how I meant it
Sticks and stones are all they ever were to me
This material life with all its value
Don't mean a thing to me without you
The love that we once had is all I need

So take everything we have if it makes you happy
But darling let me say before I leave

These sticks and stones ain't all that makes a home
They don't have arms to hold you when love goes wrong
Now you say we are through
Those sticks and stones may break me
But the words you said just tore my heart in two

Remember when we didn't have a dime between us
You took my hand and said we don't need much
Just as long as we're together we would be fine
Now we've acquired all I thought would please you
I gave everything you know that I could
And still you're telling me you're not satisfied

So take everything we have if it makes you happy
But darling let me say before I leave

These sticks and stones ain't all that makes a home
They don't have arms to hold you when love goes wrong
Now you say we are through
Those sticks and stones may break me
But the words you said just tore my heart in two

These sticks and stones may break me
But the words you said just tore my heart in two

Album Personnel

Tracy Lawrence- lead vocals

Bruce Bouton- steel guitar, dobro

Mark Casstevens- acoustic guitar, harmonica

Liana Manis- background vocals

Brent Rowan- electric guitar

Milton Sledge- drums

Gary W. Smith- keyboards, piano, synthesizer

Joe Spivey- fiddle

James Stroud- drums on "Between Us"

Glenn Worf- bass guitar

Curtis Young- background vocals

Now Watch: Songs Every Joe Diffie Fan Knows By Heart



array ( 'countrycode' => 'US', 'countrycode3' => false, 'countryname' => 'United States', 'latitude' => '39.04810', 'longitude' => '-77.47280', 'areacode' => false, 'region' => 'VA', 'city' => 'Ashburn', 'postalcode' => '20149', 'active' => true, 'continent' => 'NA', )

recommended for you

Tracy Lawrence Remembers His First Time Hearing 'Sticks and Stones' on the Radio [Interview]