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Adkins masters his obvious skills

Cerritos Performing Center for the Arts, Cerritos, Cal., August 1, 2023

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Trace Adkins told a funny story about meeting Buck Owens during his first radio publicity tour, a time when Owens suggested Adkins always use the lower register of his vocal range because that was about all he had going for him.

Owens was wrong, of course, because Adkins is a much more versatile singer than that and has also made consistently wise choices in songs to record over the years since then. Yes, he thrilled the crowd with that bellow of his at this Tuesday night date, but also did much more than show off some sort of one trick pony display.

Adkins also joked that he does his sad songs at the beginning so that if his mom is there, she can hear these and then leave before he gets to the sexier stuff. Ah, but his emotional songs are so effective! A woman a few seats away had tears in her eyes while he sang the heartbroken "You're Gonna Miss This," for example, which was preceded by the equally heart-tugging "Just Fishin'."

For the non-mom-approved selections, Adkins saved "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," which he claims is the country song most played in strip clubs, till the end. Whether that's true or not, it's easy to see why girls like to get down to it. Same goes for "Ladies Love Country Boys." Like all good country singers, Adkins also saluted the military with the touching "Still a Soldier" and gave props to good country music with "Songs About Me."

Adkins was backed by two guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. No fiddle, no steel. Thus, there wasn't a whole lot of instrumental twang. Nevertheless, everything Adkins sings with that distinctive voice of his comes out country. Every once in a while, Adkins gave the audience a toothy grin, which reminded us he was having a good time. He even wished an elderly second row patron a happy birthday.

Yes, Trace Adkins is gifted vocally. Then again, many country stars are born with golden voices. However, Adkins has done well in putting his gift to use and sure knows how to put on an entertaining show. Tonight was proof of how well he's mastered his obvious skills.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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