Trace Adkins helped keep country’s traditionalist flame burning while 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 at a time of on the job, and once several years had passed, he came back to songs with the gospel group of four the New Commitments. In the early ’90s he began to pursue a solo career, performing honky tonk bars and stages 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’d produced the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill, and Alan Jackson.
Adkins put forth 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.
2001’s 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 put forth Greatest smashes Collection, Vol. 1 in July of 2003 and its companion DVD, Video Hits, in February 2004 with Adkins’s 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 record material About Me. The record Dangerous Man was issued a year later. Live in Concert appeared in 2007 as part of the Big lineup Concert CD series. X (Ten) was gave us in 2008.