Music

Tracy Lawrence's 'When The Cowboy's Gone' Longs For Old-Fashioned Heroes [Interview]

Jon-Paul Bruno

When country folks first heard "When the Cowboy's Gone," a standout track from Tracy Lawrence's latest album Made in America, its nostalgic themes connected with listeners in constant search of new music that reflects classic country styles and time-tested values.

Lawrence pushed his co-write with Carson Chamberlain and Wyatt McCubbin back to the forefront in June when he shared an acoustic music video that amplifies the song's lyrical message.

"When we wrote it, I really didn't realize how prolific it was going to be for the time and place we're in right now," Lawrence says. "I think the message is pretty powerful for where we're at for average Americans. That's one of the things I always loved about country music. Depending on the artist, it's a big reflection of what's going on in society. The poets of country music have delved into a whole lot of things. I think it fits right where we're at.

"We all want morals and right and honor and integrity to come back into our world," he adds. "It just seems like everything is off-balance now. It's hard to know what's right and what's wrong. It just seems like everything's so gray right now. You know, it used to be a little more defined of what right and wrong was. There's so much chaos and hatred in the world, and it breaks my heart to see how far we've slid off the cliff."

The term "cowboy" and lyrics referencing John Wayne will remind many listeners of a time when Western film stars were summer blockbuster superheroes.

"When I was a kid growing up, cowboys stood for such great things," Lawrence says. "The white hat always came in to save the day. You knew that right was going to prevail. I don't think we live in that day and age anymore, and I'd love to see all of that stuff come back to us."

Read More: 5 African-American Cowboy Who Shaped the American West

That's not to say that Lawrence is only singing about Rooster Cogburn. His vision of honorable people also includes the rodeo riders he's interacted with for years.

"t's just a hard-working lifestyle, man," Lawrence says. "Even the rodeo guys of this day and age, they don't make a lot of money. If you go all the way to nationals, you might win a pickup truck and 100 grand. For the sacrifice and what they do to their bodies, man, they don't make no money at all. They do it purely for the love of what they do, and I've always had a lot of respect for that."

"When The Cowboy's Gone" Lyrics

Well there's always gonna be a bad guy
With a black tooth grin and a notched up gun
You can bet there's gonna be a problem
If you call the law and they're late showin' up
When we can't see the cover
Through the dust on our Bible what's next?

Who's gonna ride in and save the day?
Who's gonna throw that big John Wayne right hook?
When it looks like the every thing's gone to hell
Tell me who
What we need is more walk than talk
In the windshield not the rear view
Like some long lost song
'Cause this world's in trouble when the cowboys gone

There's always gonna be a fast horse
Saddled cinched up tight and ready to go
There's always gonna be a stiff drink
Waiting' in a town on down the road
When the dust cloud settles
Can you tell me who's gonna stand up?

Who's gonna ride in and save the day?
Who's gonna throw that big John Wayne
Right hook? When it looks like the every thing's gone to hell
Tell me who
What we need is more walk than talk
In the windshield not the rear view
Like some long lost song
'Cause this world's in trouble when the cowboys gone

When all but hope is lost and right's just another wordWho's gonna ride in and save the day?
Who's gonna throw that big John Wayne right hook?
When it looks like the every thing's gone to hell
Tell me who
What we need is more walk than talk
In the windshield not the rear view
Like some long lost song
'Cause this world's in trouble when the cowboys gone

When the cowboys gone
(The world's in trouble, the world's in trouble)
When the cowboys gone
(Ooh, the world's in trouble, the world's in trouble when the cowboys gone)
(Ooh, the world's in trouble, the world's in trouble when the cowboys gone)
(Ooh, the world's in trouble, the world's in trouble when the cowboys gone)

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Tracy Lawrence's 'When The Cowboy's Gone' Longs For Old-Fashioned Heroes [Interview]