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Trace Adkins

Chrome – 2001 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Trace Adkins

It's tempting to blame the weaknesses on Trace Adkins' fourth album on Dann Huff, who produced 5 of the 12 tracks, but give the devil his due. Though he's responsible for the first couple of cuts - stinkers both - he also handled the first single, "I'm Tryin'," which elegantly meshes hard core (albeit modern) country with sly Beatles references, as well as the closing ballad, "Love Me Like There's No Tomorrow."

Yet, the Trey Bruce productions that surround Huff's are also spotty, even if his batting average is higher, with solid, smartly contemporary country songs like "Once Upon A Fool Ago" and "I'm Payin' For It Now." The real problem seems to be that Adkins' rich baritone can't help but sound out of place amid drum loops and screaming guitars. The album sounds as though his team was flailing about for anything that might make radio sit up and listen, and the results just don't pay off.

Let Adkins be Adkins. He may not sell more CDs that way, but it's hard to believe he'd sell any less, since he's clearly a talented guy when he's given the right material and setting. Too bad it happens only about half the time on this one.