I have bought all but one of Trace Adkins Albums since his debut in the 90s with Dreamin’ Out Loud and there has not been a dud in the bunch. Trace does himself proud again with his latest Proud to Be Here (which, incidentally, was the inspiration for the title of this blog). There’s just something about Trace’s voice and his ability to pick some real good songs that make his albums such a pleasure to play.
The lead off and title song had me hitting repeat automatically before the first few bars had been over with. Just the tune of it and Trace’s voice match so well. He’s got the well-worn voice that fits the song like a fine pair of boots. “Million Dollar View” is a rocking song that keeps from being a run-off-the-mill twist-of-a-phrase due to its upbeat tempo and the fact that it’s a song about a sexy looking significant other vs. being something more sentimentally oriented like Lonestar’s “My Front Porch Looking In.” Trace does cover this sentimental territory in the familiar-from-the-radio “Just Fishin’.” A great father-daughter ode to those times when you’re making memories even if they may not know it. Another favorite of mine is the song “Love Buzz.” I love the way it covers the high you get from being in love:
I got a little love buzz/
I’m flying like a kite does/
Higher than the sky/
Got me feeling right/
Better than the booze does/
I’m sober as an old judge/
I tell you right now ‘cuz/
My baby she’s a good drug/
I got a little love buzz
Being part of the gay community, when I first listened to this song, I thought, this is our case for equality set to music. This song explains exactly what we feel about our own partners and it is no different than what any straight couple would feel. “Damn You Bubba” I thought was another one of the silly throw away songs that permeate country music. I was ready to dismiss it as something not great until I heard the last line, which I won’t spoiler here, but it saves the song from being just another mediocre tune about a slick cat that comes around and shows up the country boys.
The deluxe version, which I bought, has a duet with Blake Shelton called “If I Was a Woman” which is a fun, swinging, tongue-in-cheek, egotistical, dueling buddy duet that extols the virtues of why a gal would be “love a man like me.” Virtues that would lose all humor if I were to list the lyrics here. You really have to hear Trace and Blake sing them in the context of the song to really appreciate it. For this song alone, it’s worth getting the deluxe version.
Of all the songs on Proud to be Here there were only two that I did not like. The first is “It’s a Woman Thang” which is different than the above mentioned “If I Was A Woman.” “Woman Thang” sings about the many things that men don’t understand about women:
You’ve got a closet for a clothes and nothing to wear…/
…You’ve got 45 names for the color of red…/
…Towels in the bathroom I better not use…/
…You shop all day and then take it all back…/
While I love a good Mars/Venus shake-your-head-at-the-ways-of-the-opposite-sex, this song lost me because the chorus makes it sound more appropriate for a woman to be singing the song:
It’s a woman thang you wouldn’t understand/
Just adjust your mind ’cause your just a man.
If you were in my shoes you wouldn’t last a step/
I’m a hard working, baby burpin’, temptress.
The second song that I did not like is “It’s Who You Know.” In first listening to it I didn’t understand the message of the song. I thought it was going to be about your friends are the ones that matter no matter you’re class or social pecking order, but in listening to the song it seemed like the message was you’ve gotta know the right people to get ahead. It wasn’t until the bridge that I realized the person to know was God. This would have been a fine message, but the song doesn’t execute it well. Plus, I did not like the tent revival voiceover at the end. As a member of the gay community, that can rub us the wrong way.
For those who love looking Trace as much as listening to him, the CD booklet offers not too much in the way of photos. There is a photo that is impressive for it being of Trace sans hat (something I’ve rarely seen.) Those fans of the long-haired biker look or just Traces golden mane itself will be impressed, but those who are love to stare longingly at this six-foot plus drink of water will be left with your thirst unquenched. Fortunately, much more can be said about the music. It’s very satisfying.