released August 17th, 2010

from the album - This Ain't No Love Song

from all music

Trace Adkins helped keep country's traditionalist flame burning during the crossover-happy late '90s, mixing classic honky tonk with elements of gospel, blues, and rock & roll. Adkins was born in the small Louisiana town of Sarepta in 1962 and took up the guitar at an early age; he went on to study music at Louisiana Tech, where he also played football and worked on an offshore oil rig after graduating. His finger was severed in an accident while on the job, and once several years had passed, he returned to music with the gospel quartet the New Commitments. In the early '90s he began to pursue a solo career, playing honky tonk bars and clubs as often as he could, and honing a powerful, wide-ranging baritone voice in the process. He spent several years on the circuit and finally moved to Nashville to try his luck in the industry; he was quickly signed to Capitol by Scott Hendricks, who had produced the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill, and Alan Jackson.

Adkins issued his debut album, Dreamin' Out Loud, in 1996, and it established him as a rising star. The lead single, "Every Light in the House," went to number three; "I Left Something Turned on at Home" hit number two; and "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing" went all the way to number one. His 1997 follow-up album, Big Time, spawned another Top Five hit in "The Rest of Mine," and "Lonely Won't Leave Me Alone" just missed the Top Ten. However, it wasn't quite the commercial powerhouse of Dreamin' Out Loud; neither was its follow-up, 1999's More, which featured just one Top Ten single in the title track. Nonetheless, all three albums made the country Top Ten.

Released in 2001, Chrome brought Adkins into the Top Five of the country album charts for the first time, as the Top Ten lead single "I'm Tryin'" proved to be his biggest hit since "The Rest of Mine." In July of that year, Adkins was arrested for drunk driving and later pled guilty. The title track of Chrome belatedly climbed into the Top Ten in early 2003. Capitol released Greatest Hits Collection, Vol. 1 in July of 2003 and its companion DVD, Video Hits, in February 2004 with Adkins' fifth studio album, the December 2003 release Comin' on Strong, sandwiched in between. In 2005, Adkins had a major hit with "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" from his album Songs About Me. The album Dangerous Man was released a year later. Live in Concert appeared in 2007 as part of the Big Band Concert CD series. X (Ten) was issued in 2008. After the album was released, Adkins left Capitol and signed with Toby Keith's Show Dog imprint distributed by Universal. In May of 2010 he debuted his first single for the label, "This Ain't No Love Song." The album Cowboy's Back in Town was released in August of that year.

album review

Trace Adkins' Cowboy's Back in Town is his debut on Toby Keith's Show Dog imprint. It features 11 cuts, most of them underscoring the rowdy barroom cowboy image that the artist has quite literally lived up to. The set was preceded by two singles, "Ala-Freakin-Bama," which scraped its way inside the Top 50 on Billboard's country chart, and more recently, the rock ballad "This Ain't No Love Song," that climbed into the Top 30. These may not seem like impressive numbers, but given the sheer volume of recordings coming out of Nashville every week, it's nothing to sneeze at. Michael Knox is credited as producer, though Kenny Beard produced both singles and three other cuts of the 11 featured here. The set kicks off with a hard, funky banjo on "Brown Chicken Brown Cow" before it's joined by a pair of metallic guitars riffing, explosive drums, a clavinet (adding to the funk effect), a B-3, and a lap steel. We've heard hard rockers from Adkins before, but this one feels more like the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Nashville. "Hold My Beer" is more in the contemporary country mold, being equal parts John Mellencamp and .38 Special. The title track might have been a perfect advance radio single, and is certainly no less so than the two aforementioned ones. In it, Adkins' rich baritone is accompanied by mandolins, acoustic and electric guitars, a B-3, and an anthemic chorus. "Hell I Can Do That" is pure irony in the classic country tradition. It's a song about losing big, performed as a midtempo party rocker complete with a Rolling Stones-style cowbell la "Honky Tonk Women." "Ala-Freakin-Bama" sounds exactly like its title: it's pure, redneck, hard rock with a prominent banjo for country cred. The only true tear jerker here, "Still Love You" with its synth strings, doesn't work plain and simple. It's added for balance on an otherwise solid outing from Adkins. Cowboy's Back in Town reveals that this singer can do one thing well; but he does it really well and that's offer tough, utterly masculine, contemporary country-rock check the closer "Whoop a Man's Ass" convincingly.

Track Listing

1 Brown Chicken Brown Cow Beard, Beathard, Rutherford 3:25
2 Hold My Beer Beathard, Criswell, Hill 3:23
3 Cowboy's Back in Town Adkins, Bates, Beard 3:26
4 This Ain't No Love Song Lane, Lee, Lee 3:21
5 Hell, I Can Do That Collins, Martin, Miller 3:54
6 A Little Bit of Missin' You Cones, Johnson, McCormick 3:38
7 Still Love You Arthur, Bates, Roth 3:28
8 Don't Mind I Don't Gorley, Laird 3:35
9 Ala-Freakin-Bama Lynch, Speight 3:36
10 Break Her Fall Criswell, Mensy 3:39
11 Whoop a Man's Ass Beathard, Marvel 3:22