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Trace Adkins Lauds 'Love Walks Through the Rain' Duet Partner Melissa Etheridge: 'I Should've Been Singing With Her For 20 Years'

AP Photo/Charles Syke, File and Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

Trace Adkins joined forces with his own famous friends and a few talented strangers while working on his new 25-song collection The Way I Wanna Go (out Aug. 27 via Verge Records Nashville). Beyond Pitbull and Luke Bryan's collaboration "Where the Country Girls At," Adkins worked with everyone from old pal Blake Shelton to Snoop Dogg and the blues and soul dream team of Keb' Mo' and Stevie Wonder.

The best collaboration by far, though, comes when Adkins' booming baritone voice becomes one with that of raspy-voiced rocker Melissa Etheridge on '90s country throwback "Love Walks Through the Rain."

"The Melissa Etheridge thing, I've done very few duets with females in my career because it's hard to find a female vocal that blends with my voice because my voice is so low," Adkins told Wide Open Country and other outlets during a Zoom chat. "Her voice is perfect with my voice, and I kind of suspected that that was going to be the case. And when I got that track back after she put her part on there, it was like, 'Oh my God, I should've been singing with her for 20 years.' Our voices blend better than any woman I've ever sang with, and I just thought she killed it. She's amazing."

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Because of otherwise lousy circumstances, Adkins holds his vocal performances throughout his new studio album on high compared to those on his debut from 25 years back, Dreamin' Out Loud, and every project in between.

"This is the best record I ever made," Adkins said. "My voice was stronger on this record than anything I've ever recorded. (Mickey Jack Cones), one of the producers on this record, he said, 'I've never heard your voice this strong.' I said, 'Well, it's because I'm rested.' We did this whole album last year, and it's the first time that I ever had the chance to do an album where I wasn't coming in off the road and then resting a couple of days and going into the studio and trying to do master vocals. I was literally going in and singing these songs with weeks of vocal rest."

The Way I Wanna Go Tracklist

1."Where I Am Today" (Mark Holman/ Rhett Akins/ Dallas Davidson/ Ben Hayslip)
2. "Heartbreak Song" (Greg Crowe/ Johnny Garcia/ Adam Wood)
3. "Where The Country Girls At (feat. Luke Bryan & Pitbull)" (Monty Criswell/ Derek George/ Michael White)
4. "Cadillac'n" (Kendell Marvel/ Dan Auerbach/ Paul Overstreet)
5. "Finding My Groove" (Dan Smalley/ Casey Beathard/ Houston Phillips)
6. "Cowboy Boots and Jeans" (Jim Beavers/ Lindsay Rimes/ Jonathan Singleton)
7. "Live It Lonely" (Kelsey Hart/ Kyle Schlienger)
8. "Love Walks Through The Rain (feat. Melissa Etheridge" (Mickey Jack Cones/ Marla Cannon-Goodman/ Kelly Archer)
9. "Honey Child" (Monty Criswell/ Robert Counts/ Jimmy Ritchey)
10. "It's A Good Thing I Don't Drink?" (Kerry Kurt Phillips/ Jamie Teachenor - produced by Mickey Jack Cones/ Kenny Beard)
11. "Jesus Was A Hippie" (Monty Criswell/ Randy Montana)
12. "Memory to Memphis (feat. Keb' Mo' & Stevie Wonder on harmonica)" (Monty Criswell/ Derek George/ Curt Chambers)
13. "You're Mine" (Mickey Jack Cones/ Steven Dale Jones)
14. "The Way I Wanna Go" (Barry Dean/ Troy Verges/ TJ Osborne/ John Osborne - produced by Jon Coleman)
15. "It All Adds Up To Us" (Trace Adkins/ Kenny Beard/ Matt Nolan)
16. "If I Was A Woman (feat. Blake Shelton)" (Trace Adkins/ Sherrié Austin/ Jeff Bates/ Kenny Beard - produced by Mickey Jack Cones/ Kenny Beard)
17. "Got It Down" (Craig Wiseman/ Brandon Kinney)
18. "Careful Girl" (Monty Criswell/ Tony Lane/ Brice Long)
19. "Empty Chair" (Lance Miller/ David Frasier/ Lonnie Fowler)
20. "Cowboy Up" (John Pierce/ Tony Lane/ Jordan Walker)
21. "Somewhere In America" (Jon Nite/ Hunter Phelps/ Michael Hardy/ Zach Crowell)
22. "So Do The Neighbors (feat. Snoop Dogg)" (Monty Criswell/ Derek George/ Shane Minor/ Calvin Broadus)
23. "I Should Let You Go" (Monty Criswell/ Tim Mensy)
24. "Low Note" (Monty Criswell/ Derek George/ Michael White)
25. "Welcome To" (Craig Wiseman/ Jacob Rice/ James McCormick)

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Trace Adkins Lauds 'Love Walks Through the Rain' Duet Partner Melissa Etheridge: 'I Should've Been Singing With Her For 20 Years'