One of the most glaring dichotomies in all of country music is how someone as big as Trace Adkins—big voice, big personality, big heart, big talent, big patriotism, big career achievements, big ambassador for the genre, big work ethic and big physical presence—can be so hard to find each year when award shows roll around. Having performed some of the most memorable hits in the past 15-plus years, Adkins has one of the few instantly recognizable voices in country music. He has used that incredible instrument to poke fun with “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” touch the hearts of parents everywhere with “Then They Do,” “You’re Gonna Miss This” and “Just Fishin’,” give honor and praise to our military with “Arlington” and “Til the Last Shot’s Fired,” turn a powerful spotlight on personal demons with “I’m Tryin’” and “Sometimes a Man Takes a Drink” and crank up the romantic heat with “Hot Mama,” “This Ain’t No Thinkin’ Thing” and “Chrome.” He’s also a convincing actor, author, TV host and great family man and has visited our troops here and in the Middle East on numerous occasions. Nope, not much worthy of awards in a career like that.
Fortunately for Adkins’ legions of fans, the imposing singer is more concerned with putting out excellent work than with being lauded for it. And he’s done it again with the release of his 11th studio album, Love Will, which hits the street tomorrow. The 11-song collection of tunes views love from varied emotional perspectives ranging from the noble to the sultry and from the loyal to the spiritual. While the record’s first single, “Watch the World End,” features Colbie Caillat in a stirring ode to the commitment of a couple to each other no matter the circumstances, the gorgeous tune is far from the CD’s only highlight. Adkins is joined by country rockers Exile in a great reprise of the group’s 1978 worldwide hit “Kiss You All Over” that captures all the sexual heat of the original with the bonus of Trace’s powerful low-end vocal. The album’s title cut features a soaring performance by the Harlem Gospel Choir offering spine-tingling support as Adkins sings that true love can say what we can’t, find common ground when we can’t and do the right thing when we all-too-often can’t bring ourselves to do it. Great sentiments and a powerful performance.
“Come See Me” features Adkins delivering a sultry tune as only he can, but just when you think he’s shown you most of the exquisite vocal moves he has to offer, Trace unleashes a soaring falsetto that perfectly extends the invitation to Come See Me, I’ve got everything you need. Great romantic tune and perfect for parking the car, turning on the radio and slow dancing in the moonlight.
But as good as the rest of the record is, three songs deserve special attention, because for those who have met Adkins’ loving wife, Rhonda, it’s hard to imagine her not being front and center in the singer’s mind as he performed “The Alter of Our Love,” “If The Sun Comes Up” and “Say No to a Woman.” In “Alter,” Adkins sings convincingly of Somebody who believes in you enough to help you fight your demons, and Rhonda has definitely been that someone for the singer during his own personal struggles a few years back. In “If the Sun”—this writer’s personal favorite song on the CD—the heartfelt message to the woman in the singer’s life is to go on livin’ don’t stop lovin’ . . . if the sun comes up without me tomorrow. Adkins gives an emotion-packed vocal performance, and the nobility and love in the lyrics are conveyed in a way that only he can. A gorgeous melody and great sentiments.
In “Say No,” Adkins sings of all the things he wouldn’t have done and wouldn’t have become if he could say no to a woman. When he sings, she saw me better than I thought I was. She offered her heart and all her love, you know that’s exactly how he feels about what the love of his life has done for him. There was greatness inside him all along, but she helped him find it and believe in it. And fans everywhere are more than grateful that she did.
Love Will Full Track Listing:
1. When I Stop Loving You
2. So What If I Do
3. Come See Me
4. Right Now
5. Every One Of You
6. The Altar Of Your Love
7. Kiss You All Over (Featuring Exile)
8. If The Sun Comes Up
9. Say No To A Woman
10. Watch The World End (Featuring Colbie Caillat)
11. Love Will (Featuring Harlem Gospel Choir)