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Trace Adkins

More – 1999 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins says his songs are all about "pain and sex." That doesn't mean this CD is full of S&M love ballads. And thankfully, even though his vocal range hasn't widened much, none of the 12 selections here are painful to listen to. (With the exception of some of the more stretching-for-the-rhyme gardening puns like "If you want to build a fortified house of love, I can brick it" in "I Can Dig It")

Considering that this is a man who's had a finger and a nose reattached and been shot through the heart, it's not surprising that there are more songs about pain than sex. In the standout "She's Still There" a man recalls his high-school sweetheart who didn't live to see graduation. "Don't Lie" is the plea of a man being dumped who doesn't want to hear the "I'll always love you" clich+s that too often accompany that act. "Every Other Friday At Five" is the latest in what has become a C & W sub-genre, the we're-not-all-deadbeats divorced father's lament.

Not that sex isn't well represented, too. In the awkwardly-titled "Can I Want Your Love," a man muses on how far he should try to go with his girl. The title track and "I'm Gonna Love You Anyway" answer the question. "All Hat, No Cattle" doesn't fit into either category, but just might become this album's "Thinkin' Thing." But why does every song about real cowboys have to contain the same old tired puerile reference to saddling up your girlfriend and riding all night long?