Trace Adkins, ‘Proud to Be Here’ – Album Review
There are moments on Trace Adkins' new album 'Proud to Be Here' that are as good as any the tall, pony-tailed country singer has ever pressed to a compact disc. There are also moments on the album -- in stores tomorrow, August 2 -- as bad as anything he's ever recorded. The end result depends on if one can find love in a scarred project from a singer that's slowly showing his scars.
The title track kicks off the project and is as autobiographical of a song Adkins has ever cut. It's a sure radio hit that will find fans amongst anyone who's found redemption despite a few mendacious gestures. Adkins' personal battles are well chronicled, and he more or less thanks God that he's still living at age 49. 'Million Dollar View' and 'Days Like This' are the decaffeinated versions of the same song, but both are enjoyable for their catchy choruses and agreeable melodies.
The album includes a number of ballads or mid-tempo, introspective love songs, including the easy-to-overlook 'That's What You Get.' Next up is 'Just Fishin',' a heartwarming song even if it sounds like 'You're Gonna Miss This' part two. With 'It's a Woman Thing,' the country singer reaches back, and (to borrow a baseball cliche) swings for the seats, but sends nothing but a big stinky breeze to his fans. The melody is grating and the lyrics, ironically, feel like they could have used a woman's touch to soften the corners. Strike one!
'Love Buzz' is a good try at a song George Strait or Joe Nichols should have cut. The easy-breezy style will surprise Adkins' fans, and he should be applauded for taking a chance and hitting a clean double on the song. Next up is 'It's Who You Know,' which may win this year's 'What Were You Thinking?' award. The song in pleasant enough -- an uptempo chance for Adkins to boom about the importance of finding God without Bible-thumping -- until a James Brown soundalike begins screach ... err, preaching. Sixty seconds worth of guitar and microphone feedback wouldn't have pushed one's hand to the volume or 'track advance' button quicker. Strike two!
The humble 'Poor Folks' ("I've got your name on my left arm, and your body on my right / And I wonder what the poor folks are doing tonight") and the melancholy but memorable 'Always Gonna Be That Way' close the album, but Adkins comes back for an encore in the deluxe edition which is worth the money, if only for 'Semper Fi.' The big man does a mean military tribute, and hits another home run on this ode to American Marines.
The deluxe edition's other three tracks include a funny Blake Shelton duet that works but doesn't quite live up to its potential, a take-on-the-government rocker that will rub liberals like sandpaper, and then there's 'Damn You Bubba.' 'Damn You Bubba' is a two-out, full-count fastball that might have nipped the edge of home plate for strike three. It's that big, pushy Trace Adkins rocker that rides the line between stupendous and stupid.
Watch the Trace Adkins 'Just Fishin'' Video