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One Size Fits All in Proud to Be Here

  • Ed Cardinal TheFish.com Contributing Writer
  • 2011 8 Aug
One Size Fits All in <i>Proud to Be Here</i>

Artist: Trace Adkins

Title: Proud to Be Here

Label: Show Dog - Universal Music

Trace Adkins fans have had a busy year; in just twelve months the roughneck country baritone's face has graced two new studio albums and one double-disc hits collection. This very latest effort, Proud to Be Here, is described as more mature, but where else can a guy go after "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" and "Brown Chicken Brown Cow," really?

Sure enough, Trace dials down the silly—but not the well-proven showmanship—on eight of ten songs here, and it makes for a refreshing listen in several cases. With some sage wisdom and emotive pedal steel, the opening title anthem reminds us of his death defying past (I'm just proud to be here on the right side of the dirt). Feel good rocker "Million Dollar View" and the slower paced, old school country "Poor Folks" put love and wealth into proper perspective.

Adkins also keeps priorities in line on the sweet and clever husband/wife tune "That's What You Get" (which sounds a bit like a Pat Benatar classic) and the Springsteen-flavored "Just Fishin,'" an insightful, heart-tugging father/daughter ode. With killer southern rock harmonies, "It's Who You Know" offers great spiritual truth and even drops in an excited preacher sharing a word from Proverbs—but it's kind of weird how a cut about knowing God includes one mild expletive, although it makes sense in context.

For anyone who prefers the novelty side of what Trace does, the fun and funky "It's a Woman Thang" should suffice, although there's no denying the goofiness of lyrics like, Towels in the bathroom I better not use / Baby tell me again why you got so many shoes? The same goes for "Love Buzz," a swampy swaggerer with cowbell and harmonica wherein the singer must explain to a police officer that he got high off a woman.

From his prolific recording career to appearances on television (Celebrity Apprentice) and the big screen (The Lincoln Lawyer), Adkins is a formidable entertainer, and he knows not to stray too far from what the fans want on Proud to Be Here. If there's any complaint, it's how only the 14-song "deluxe edition" features a new duet with Blake Shelton. Should the everyday country music enthusiast have to pay extra for that? In a market packed with recent Trace Adkins product, a one-size-fits-all set with everything on it would be less confusing and make some folks a little bit more proud.

*This review first published 8/8/2011