When Trace Adkins was working as a pipefitter in a Louisiana oil field, he injured his pinky. The doctors told him that he would never regain mobility in that finger; and Adkins told them to fix it with enough curvature in it to fit around a guitar neck. Now that's dedication. The same dedication that is evident in his song choices and his vocal agility. This baritone is equally adept at romantic ballads ("Dreamin' Out Loud," "There's a Girl in Texas") and rockers ("(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing" and the silly but irrestible chestnut "634-5789"). He even makes the requisite bad pun tune ("I Left Something Turned On At Home") something more than a way to waste three minutes and seven seconds. But Adkins really excels at one of the rarer subgenres of country music - the mature, 1996 love song. On "It Was You" the singer tells his lady love that it wasn't the moon, the stars or the music or any of the other accouterments of courtship that caused him to fall, it's because she was the one. And when Adkins sings (on "I Can Only Love You Like a Man") "There ain't no knights in shinin' armor/There ain't no never never land/ And I won't ever walk on water/ I can only love you like a man") it sounds not an promising singer singing something a songwriter wrote. It sounds like a man in love baring his soul.