Louisiana-born Tracy Darrell "Trace" Adkins represents more than just decade-specific nostalgia. With his grizzled look, mighty voice and steadfast patriotism, Adkins 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. Themes you might expect do pop up in Adkins' "Hot Mama" and other singles that impacted country radio. "American Man" and other songs not listed below also celebrate an old-fashioned way of thinking that appeals to country music audiences. Yet while these ideas appear in disposable pop songs, Adkins always gets these familiar points across through detailed stories that really make you feel his legit respect for God, country, and self.
From his 1996 Capitol Records 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," he's offered up songs like these 10 that have made him the heart and consciousness of big-time country music.
10. "Snowball in El Paso"
One of Adkins' best traditional-leaning tunes 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 memorable single 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.
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"
The true '90s country classic in Adkins' catalog 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.
With this moving look at the American soldier, Adkins considers how their sacrifices helped protect and 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.