Louisiana-born Tracy Darrell "Trace" Adkins represents more than just decade-specific nostalgia. With his grizzled look, mighty voice and steadfast patriotism, the Grand Ole Opry member still stirs fans' emotions with new releases.
Some jaded country music fans assume that modern artists and writers overly rely on redneck buzzwords and patriotism summed up with slogans. Similar themes do pop up in Adkins' "Hot Mama" and other singles that impacted country radio. Still, "American Man" and other songs not listed below celebrate an old-fashioned way of thinking that appeals to pickier audiences.
From his 1996 debut single, "There's a Girl in Texas," to his more recent studio albums, Trace Adkins has refused to become a typical Nashville star. Aside from the occasional light-hearted hit, like the Blake Shelton collaboration "Hillbilly Bone" or "Just Fishin'," he's offered up songs that have made him the heart and consciousness of big-time country music.
Here are our 10 favorite Trace Adkins songs that you're gonna love.
10. "Snowball in El Paso"
One of Adkins' best traditional-leaning tunes from his 1997 album Big Time is an old-fashioned love song about the one that got away, leaving a thirsty man with no water in the well.
9. "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk"
Sure it's silly, but it's a great song and memorable single from 2005 album Songs About Me that folks still associate with 21st-century country music. Plus, it introduced a wider audience to the songwriting talents of Jamey Johnson.
8. "Nothin' But Taillights"
Adkins' exploration of '90s fiddle tunes brought us this sometimes overlooked album cut about the one who didn't just get away -- she took the truck!
Adkins can fully unravel a good analogy in song, as heard on this tune that likens the dating game to baseball. Plus, its music video is a real hoot. It's the lead single from 2006 album Dangerous Man.
6. "Tough People Do"
Adkins looks like a dangerous man, but in this song, he acknowledges that folks who're just scraping by without losing their dignity are truly tough hombres.
5. "Every Light In The House"
One of the main singles from 1996 album Dreamin' Out Loud, this seminal '90s country song captures that glimmering sense of hope that can survive heartbreak.
4. "Ladies Love Country Boys"
Sometimes, even the most serious artists can let loose and have fun, as heard on this clear-cut look at why newer trucks and bigger tires turn heads on the weekend. It's sort of like Ricky Skaggs' "Country Boy," except it focuses on a woman thrust into city life.
3. "Jesus and Jones"
The duplicity of raising Hell on Saturday and going to church on Sunday, paired with bouts of Baptist guilt, make this tribute to George Jones hit home for a lot of listeners. This selection from 2017 album Something's Going On proves that he continues to crank out great music.
With this moving look at the American soldier, Adkins considers how their sacrifices helped define generation after generation of young men and women.
1. "Still a Soldier"
Adkins' best song that honors the men and women of the United States military came out in 2017, proving that he can still wow us all with a new song. It's from Something's Going On, the same album that features "Ain't Just the Whiskey Talkin'" and other evidence that the book isn't closed on his final greatest hits volume.
Honorable mention songs: "You're Gonna Miss This," "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing," "Ain't That Kind of Cowboy," "Lonely Won't Leave Me Alone," "Brown Chicken Brown Cow," "Marry For Money," "The Rest of Mine," "I'm Tryin'," "Then They Do," "Better Off," "Watch the World End," "Cowboy's Back in Town," "Proud to Be Here," "I Can't Outrun You," "I Left Something Turned on at Home," "Mind on Fishin'," "I Got My Game On," "Rough & Ready" and "Don't Lie."
This story was first published in 2018.