Trace Adkins keeps it real on his 10th studio album.
The title track gets things started in a slow, mellow way. Adkins sings of living in a simple manner, being happy to be alive and grateful for God’s blessings. “When I think of all I would have missed/ my wife and kids and all that I hold dear.”
The tempo picks up considerably on the second track, “Million Dollar View.” It has a country/rock sound with a good, albeit short, guitar solo. Adkins does not need to be on the beach, a mountaintop or in a high-rise condominium to have a breathtaking view – he just needs his woman nearby. “You’re a livin’ work of art/ a sight that would inspire the likes of Michelangelo.”
Adkins co-wrote “Days Like This,” his only songwriting credit on the album. It opens with keyboards and closes with guitar and mandolin. The music is easygoing, fitting the message of the lyrics. Adkins has no interest in the news of the world on a day where he is enjoying the simple joys of life. “If the world’s gone to hell, let it go, I’ll blow it a kiss/ don’t wanna think about things like that on days like this.”
“Just Fishin’” is one of the stronger songs. It is a tender song about a father taking his young daughter fishing. Adkins’ singing conveys his grasp on the storytelling tradition in country music. “She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout what’s really goin’ on right now/ but I guarantee this memory’s a big ‘un/ and she thinks we’re just fishin’.”
“Love Buzz” is a spirited tune that finds Adkins intoxicated on love. “And I’ll take all she’s got/ ‘cause she’s the top shelf kind/ she keeps me strung out on a binge.”
The fiddle and pedal steel guitar on “Poor Folks” leave no doubt this is real country music.
For a few extra dollars fans can purchase the deluxe version. It is worth it, as two of the more meaningful tracks are in these extra four songs.
“More Of Us” is the only song with a political bent. Adkins decries secular humanists who are removing the 10 Commandments from courthouses and other actions to diminish the role of Christianity in our society. He also takes a swipe at our national leadership, without singling out a particular party or movement. “With one voice we ought to call a halt to the madness in D.C./ we gotta change the course they got us on/ double check whose side they’re really on/ seems to me they got this country wrong, it belongs to you and me.”
“Semper Fi” is a melodic, touching tribute to the United States Marine Corps. Adkins sings of a young man arriving at boot camp. “I sleep in my bed instead of a foxhole/ I’ve never heard my boss say lock and load/ ain’t no bullet holes in the side of my SUV/ ‘cause the kid next door just shipped out overseas.”
The deluxe version also has “If I Was A Woman,” featuring guest Blake Shelton. The two country stars brag about their wealth and good looks. Horns give this a big, brassy sound.
Adkins touches all the bases of his genre on “Proud To Be Here” – love of family and God, respect for the military, enjoying the simple things in life. With a few exceptions, he maintains his adherence to traditional country music.
Trace Adkins plays at the Puyallup Fair at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 23. Tickets range from $25-50.