Tracy Lawrence’s Mission:Possible Raises $250,000; Fries 1,200 turkeys

by Preshias Harris / 71 days ago / Comments
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9,600 meals for those in need at Thanksgiving

“I’m just happy we haven’t set anything on fire today!”  That was the first thing that Tracy Lawrence said to me when we met up at the Tennessee Fairgrounds, early on the morning of Tuesday November 22, as the seventeenth annual Mission:Possible Turkey Fry was just getting under way.

It was a cold (sub-freezing) morning but it didn’t chill the attitude of the 250 volunteers who were already hard at work with the turkey fryers, laid out with military precision. With an ambitious goal of cooking a record-breaking 1,200 turkeys this year, the event was moved from its original location at the Nashville Rescue Mission’s parking lot to the wider expanse of the Fairgrounds.

Taking a brief break and surveying the work in progress that had begun before dawn, Tracy talked to me about Tracy Lawrence’s Mission:Possible that has grown beyond his wildest dreams since it began in 2006.  Back then, Tracy and a few friends had bought some fryers and turkeys at a store, then gathered in a parking lot to fry them up and went into homeless camps to make sure everyone was fed.

“It’s a big undertaking,” he admitted, “but we’re able to help a whole lot of people. We’re going to reach hundreds more people in need around the Greater Nashville area this year than we’ve ever been able to do in the past. I’m very excited about where we’re at and I just hope we can sustain this growth and keep moving forward.”

The project has taken on a life of its own with the help of sponsors and the donations of many thousands of supporters. Over the years, Tracy realized that the project could expand to help people in need in different ways.

“As we’ve gone through this process, the work that I’ve done with the Rescue Mission, I could see they do such a great job downtown,” he explained. “Then as you get a little bit deeper, you realize that there are a lot of people that feed on the street on different days of the week, there are street preachers who go out on the weekends and are preaching in the rain and feeding people out of their food pantries.  There are people out there with small organizations that do nothing but volunteer their time that are needing help too.  We want to be able to grow and help them as well.”

For the past six years, Mission:Possible has included a benefit concert held at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. This year’s concert featured Gary Allan, Travis Denning, Alexandra Kay and Halfway to Hazard, in addition to the man himself Tracy Lawrence. Last year’s event raised $175,000 but this year, that record was broken with $250,000 raised for Mission:Possible’s long-time partner, the Nashville Rescue Mission.

Tracy has to be one of the busiest men in show business.  He continues to play to packed houses in addition to recent tour dates with Jason Aldean and Brad Paisley.  He hosts an award-nominated radio shows, Honky Tonkin’ With Tracy Lawrence. Last year, he celebrated his 30-year anniversary in the music industry with a showcase at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, and has released reflective new albums, Hindsight 2020 Vol1, 2 and 3. The albums feature thirty songs including classic hits and new music. If all that – and the time he devotes to his charitable activities associated with Mission:Possible – were not enough to pack a calendar, Tracy has now embarked on a new project titled TL’s Road House.  The unique concept: a podcast in which Tracy meets with artists on his tour bus for a wide-ranging interview.  It allows the viewer to feel they are riding along with Tracy and his friends as they talk about their lives in music. 

I asked him what inspired him to embark on TL’s Road House.

“I really wanted to get into a format where I could sit down and talk to some of the younger artists,” he said.  “The things that I do on my radio show, I’m not really able to talk with the current chart-active people.  And it’s given me an opportunity to get to know these folks on a personal level in a way that I wouldn’t have in any other way.”

Guests aboard TL’s Road House for the debut season include Lainey Wilson, HARDY, Michael Ray, Jason Aldean and Jelly Roll. It airs all major streaming platforms and YouTube.  Check it out here

Those bus-board talks have helped to keep Tracy positive about the state of country music today.

“I do believe country music is alive and well,” he told me.  “I believe there’s a whole crop of young artists that are bringing a lot more traditional country back.”

Tracy got down to a lot of songwriting during the pandemic, writing nine of the ten songs on Hindsight 2020 Vol 1.

“I wrote a lot in the past few years getting prepared for that album,” he said, but added, “I haven’t written one thing this year.  I had to have a break. I kind of ran into a wall and I needed a mental break.”

However, it looks like there’s more music on the horizon from Tracy Lawrence. “I’m getting ready to start writing,” he told me with a smile.

On a personal note, Tracy and I have been friends since I was an intern at Atlantic Records in the early '90s and he was starting work on his second album, Alibis.  By coincidence, I would later work as a publishing assistant for the co-writer of the album’s title track, Randy Boudreaux.  Tracy has always been a ‘what you see is what you get’ type of person who is compassionate, generous and humble. I am very proud of that in him

Keep up with Tracy (if you can) at his website, his Facebook page, on Instagram (@therealtracylawrence), Twitter (@tracy_lawrence) and his YouTube channel.

Tracy wanted to make sure folks knew where to go for more info about Tracy Lawrence’s Mission:Possible. Visit the website here where you can ‘join the cause’ by making a donation and watch videos as funds are distributed to organizations that help those most in need. 

Photo (L to R): Travis Denning, Alexandra Kay, Gary Allan, Tracy Lawrence, David Tolliver, Chad Warrix, Shawn Parr. Photo credit: Caylee Robillard

 

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Tracy Lawrence Tour Dates

02/09/2023 : The Moon: Tallahassee, FL
02/11/2023 : Whitehead Farm: Brooksville, FL
02/16/2023 : Coronado Performing Arts Center: Rockford, IL
02/17/2023 : The Lerner: Elkhart, IN
02/18/2023 : Midland Center for the Arts: Midland, MI
02/21/2023 : Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots' 6th Million Dollar Show: Nashville, TN
02/24/2023 : Stage 271: Grant, OK
02/25/2023 : Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel & Casino: Lake Charles, LA
03/03/2023 : The Ranch Concert Hall & Saloon: Fort Myers, FL
03/09/2023 : One Night Two Icons: Tracy Lawrence and Clay Walker: Shreveport, LA
03/10/2023 : One Night Two Icons: Tracy Lawrence and Clay Walker: Enid, OK
03/11/2023 : One Night Two Icons: Tracy Lawrence and Clay Walker: Grand Island, NE
03/16/2023 : One Night Two Icons: Tracy Lawrence and Clay Walker: Loveland, CO
03/17/2023 : One Night Two Icons: Tracy Lawrence and Clay Walker: Rio Rancho, NM
03/18/2023 : One Night Two Icons: Tracy Lawrence and Clay Walker: Prescott Valley, AZ
03/24/2023 : Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Tulsa: Catoosa, OK
04/01/2023 : Pensacola Saenger Theatre: Pensacola, FL
04/20/2023 : Montgomery Performing Arts Centre: Montgomery, AL
04/21/2023 : 440 Foundry Pavilion | The Classic Center Ice Hockey Rink: Athens, GA
04/25/2023 : Von Braun Center: Huntsville, AL
04/27/2023 : Dayton Masonic Center: Dayton, OH
04/28/2023 : Peoples Bank Theatre: Marietta, OH
04/29/2023 : The Lorain Palace Theatre: Lorain, OH
06/08/2023 : Carolina Country Music Fest 2023: Myrtle Beach, SC
07/08/2023 : 42 Annual Country Concert : Fort Loramie, OH
07/13/2023 : Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi: Biloxi, MS
07/29/2023 : The Bridge at Three Forks: Cardwell, MT

About Preshias Harris

Preshias Harris Journalist

Preshias Harris is a music journalist who has interviewed everyone from Alabama to ZZ Top for articles and stories published in numerous music magazines. She is the author of longest-running monthly country music column in America and authored The College of Songology™ 101: The Singer/Songwriter’s ‘Need To Know’ Reference Handbook. As a music career development consultant with special emphasis on emerging and aspiring artists and songwriters, she focuses on ‘chasing the dream’ while understanding the realities of the music industry. She maintains a writers’ room on Music Row – named The Sangtuary – for her clients and their co-writers. She is a member of ASCAP (as a publisher), BMI, The Country Music Association (CMA), The Recording Academy, The National Association of Talent Directors (NATD) and a life member of Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).

You can find out more about Preshias at https://www.collegeofsongology.com and find her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com