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Trace Adkins

Proud To Be Here – 2011 (Show Dog - Universal label)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Trace Adkins

The 10 largely upbeat songs on Trace Adkins' 10th album reveals a more mature, thoughtful performer who still likes to have a little fun but appreciates where he's at these days. That can't be easy for a guy who's experienced his share of tough times through a 15-year career. He was shot by his second wife, had a pinkie finger severed in an accident (it was reattached) and lost his house in June to a fire. Yet Adkins turns away from tragedy and reflects on the positives in his life. He's remarried and has three kids, allowing him to revel in the natural high of a good woman on the bluesy Love Buzz, then shuffle through the sweet love song Poor Folks.

His plaintive vocals on Just Fishin' reveal not only the love but the trepidation at what's ahead for a dad out on the lake with his little girl, then shrugs his shoulders like a loyal, but perplexed husband on It's a Woman Thang. Adkins actually makes the title cut believable despite the opening line "If I was down to my last dollar."

If you're headed to Target, check Adkins' deluxe edition for four extra songs. He takes a front-porch debate swipe at the politicians in Washington with More of Us and gives a reverent nod to the Marine Corps on Semper Fi. But Damn You Bubba and his Joe Stampley-Moe Bandy-esque duo with Blake Shelton on If I was a Woman makes a trip to your local big-box worth it.

Deluxe version or not, Adkins should not only be proud of where he's at, but of his new album as well.