From acting and singing to honoring America’s military veterans, today’s #MondayHero is a hero on all accounts. Growing up in the northern Louisiana town of Sarepta, he learned to play guitar from a young age, thanks to his father’s teachings. Since then, the oil-rig-technician-turned-Nashville-legend has scored more than 11 million records sold, played sold-out stadium shows, and even made appearances in blockbuster films. As we enter the middle of March and the weather starts inching towards the warmer side, we honor a man whose music has evolved through life as smoothly as he has. Today’s Rhythm & Boots NYC #MondayHero is Trace Adkins.
After joining a few different musical groups throughout his upbringing, he eventually went to college to play football, with guitar acting as a side hobby. However, before even suiting up for a game, a devastating injury extinguished his football career from the start and led him to focus more on music during his recovery. Eventually deciding that his characteristically deep voice and soothing singing was as good as anything he had been listening to on country radio, he moved to Nashville to pursue a career in singing and songwriting in the early ‘90s.
Having spent a number of years working on a deep sea oil rig as well as holding a few other intense jobs, Adkins built up a bit of a financial foundation — at least enough to keep him afloat during his first few years in Tennessee. After being signed by Capitol Records Nashville in the mid-90s, Adkins (at this point in his early 30s), had finally achieved his long-desired goal. Today, more than twenty years down the road, Adkins has twelve studio albums under his belt, encompassing a few number one singles and boasting a certified-platinum greatest hits album.
More impressively, throughout Adkins’ career as a country music superstar he has devoted some of his time to expressing his talent via other artistic avenues. By continually accepting acting gigs in TV shows and feature films (both in person and as voice overs), Adkins has shown how impactful and invigorating his trademark voice and persona are. From movie biker gangs and hardened inmates to guest spots on TV’s King of the Hill and KFC commercials, Adkins’ filmography is as diverse as his musical collection, and indicative of the hardworking and talented character that he has always proven to be.
For a man who has charted songs including “There’s A Girl In Texas”, “Chrome”, and “Honkytonk Badonkadonk”, it is evident that Trace’s discography is extensive and all-encompassing. From his early days as a ‘90s honkytonky cowboy to his stint in the more mainstream country game, Adkins’ music has evolved throughout the years, but has never failed to feel authentic to him. As an average guy who has worked numerous jobs, seemingly encountered many types of people, and even cheated death more than a few times (see this The Boot article), it’s difficult not to be on his side.
Nowadays, Trace’s twelve studio album, 2017’s Something’s Going On is a testament to his outlook on life at this stage in his career. Featuring singles like “Still a Soldier” and “Watered Down”, Trace writes on his website of the latter mellowed-out, reflective number, “this time there’s no bones about it. That’s my favorite cut. It just speaks to my soul.” Either way, whether you’re watering down your whiskey or just trying your first sip of beer, Trace Adkins will satisfy your thirst for honest country classics and a candidate you can count on.
(or check it out below!)
Trace Adkins #FeaturedFour:
- “I Left Something Turned On At Home” (1997) – Speaking of that old-time country honkytonk that Trace used to so effortlessly perfect, this track appeared on his first album back in the ‘90s and set his career ablaze from his the beginning. With a sense of humor and a knack for having a good time, this track reached #2 in the US and topped the country charts in Canada. The traditional four-count kick drum and fiddle fills make it a dancing number, and the lyrics might just surprise you.
- “You’re Gonna Miss This” (2008) – Another one of his biggest hits, this song is a poignant reminder to never take life for granted. While each day may punch you in the face, Trace suggests rolling with the punches instead of letting them get in your way. No matter what point of life you may be residing in, you’ll surely look back miss it in the future, so cherish every day you have. A solid message from a delightful song, and only Trace would be able to deliver it so thoughtfully.
- “Hold My Beer” (2010) – A deeper cut from his Cowboy’s Back In Town record, this upbeat-summer song is a great addition to any Adkins anthology. Once again putting a sense of humor on display, this song brings the modern-day internet meme to life even before its time. An absolute anthem, the catchiness and playful nature of this song is expressive of some of Adkins’ best musical characteristics, and makes us want to press rewind on the remote to listen to it again and again — hold our beer.
- “Watered Down” (2017) – Line after line, verse after verse, this three-minute memoir functions as a key into Adkins’ living room, where he and you are the only people in the room. Feeling more like a discussion than a song, the drunkenly-expressive lyrics superimposed over the soothing background guitar create an atmosphere of longing for the past, listening in the present, and looking towards the future. While his entire career has been centralized around simple themes and honest music, this latest number might be as forthright as he’s ever been.
Catch up with Trace Adkins on his sites here (and check out this video from NYC’s The Cutting Room back in Sept. 2016:
– R&B NYC