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Trace Adkins helped keep country's traditionalist flame burning during the
crossover-happy late '90s, mixing classic honky tonk with elements of gospel,
blues, and rock & roll.
Trace 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 while on the job, and once several years had
passed, he returned to music with the gospel quartet the New Commitments. In the
early '90s he began to pursue a solo career, playing honky tonk bars and clubs
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
Trace Adkins issued 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
Trace 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,
Trace 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 released
Greatest Hits Collection, Vol. 1 in July of 2003 and its companion DVD, Video
Hits, in February 2004 with
Trace Adkins's fifth studio album, the December 2003 release Comin' on Strong,
sandwiched in between. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide
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