Trace Adkins recognizes the angel and the devil on his shoulder during “Jesus and Jones,” the first single from an upcoming debut on Wheelhouse Records. The big country rocker is a forceful blast of new and traditional country music ideas that Adkins wrestles like an alligator.

Even more powerful than Mickey Jack Cones' guitar-heavy instrumentation is Adkins’ muscular vocals. Once again he proves he’s in control, despite what you may have heard. Tyler Farr helped write “Jesus and Jones,” a lyric so strong and marketable you wonder why he didn’t keep it for himself.

“When I’m up on the wagon I’m a hell of a saint / But I’ll be damned if there ain’t another town to paint / Just down the road man it’s a game that I can’t win,” the 2016 Country Jam Colorado performer sings without the slightest sense of wink, wink. He then explodes through the chorus:

“I need to find a little middle ground / Between let her rip and settling down / But I go from dry to drowned, lost to found / Stone cold sober to just plain stoned / Trying to live like my heroes did / Is the hardest kind of livin’ there is / Been a tug o’ war since I was a kid between Jesus and Jones.”

Adkins’ return hardly comes hat in hand. Physically and sonically he’s a leaner version of the singer that returned to rehab in 2014, but no less aggressive. With “Jesus and Jones” he’s doubled-down on roughneck with no promises that he won’t cross that line again.

Why Fans Will Love It: "Jesus and Jones" is the right song for the right artist at the right time. It's very real.

Key LyricsI Wish I could find a gear between / “White Lightning” and John 3:16 / But girl I can’t promise anything right now.”

Did You Know?: Co-writer Jim McCormick has helped write many songs, including Jason Aldean's "Take a Little RIde."

Listen to Trace Adkins, “Jesus and Jones”