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Trace Adkins

X – 2008 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins certainly has led a colorful life, while not being afraid of controversy. And 10 discs into his career, he has developed a consistency, which means songs about soldiers, love and drinking.

Adkins' greatest tool remains his voice. The baritone is very full sounding whether on CD or in concert - he is no creation of ProTools. Adkins always has enjoyed a hot, oozing love song. Here, the Louisianan infuses a nastiness to the lead-off Sweet, about his flame who he brings home telling his mother not to worry even though "she couldn't boil a pot of water/So she won't need none of Grandma's recipes." Marry for Money is downright humorous.

But he does get serious as well on the ballad All I Ask for Anymore where he leaves behind is wild hell raisin' days for the wife and kids. Sometimes a Man Takes a Drink describes the life of a down and outer, who imbibes way too much.

Adkins doesn't write songs, so he's dependent on writers. Fortunately, he picked material that suits him just fine. And producer Frank Rogers, who also works with Brad Paisley, does a superb here, not changing Atkins, but bringing his strengths to the fore amidst hard country (Hillbilly Rich), soul (Let's Do That Again), and gospel (the first single Muddy Water).

Adkins would not be accused of trailblazing. But with that voice, divergent styles and quality songs both fun and sad, that's okay.