Trace Adkins – American Man: Greatest Hits Volume, II (Capital Nashville)
It seems like many established artist find themselves releasing ‘Greatest Hits’ collections when the Holiday season rolls around but when Trace Adkins “American Man: Greatest Hits, Volume II” was announced as an upcoming release I was stunned. It seems like almost yesterday that Adkins and his label Capitol Nashville released “Greatest Hits: Volume One.” And, in music terms, the album was. It was barely four years and three album releases ago. Those three albums, 2003’s “Comin’ On Strong,” 2005’s “Songs About Me,” and 2006’s “Dangerous Man,” served up 9 hits, of which two or three were ‘only’ Top 20 hits. So, it didn’t make sense and neither did Trace’s excuse for releasing “American Man;” ‘A pressing career opportuntity. ‘
Since there were only 9 singles released in the last 3 years from those three records, they’re all present on “American Man” along with three new tracks and one very strong album cut off of “Dangerous Man.” Of the hits, nearly everyone will remember “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” “Hot Mama” and “Ladies Love Country Boys.” Two of the three were co-written by Jamey Johnson (who co-wrote the CMA winning “Give It Away“) and all are decent enough songs but the songs which really show the versatility of Trace Adkins are the gems like album cut “I Came Here To Live” and “Arlington.” Both songs, along with the stellar, but under-performing, single “I Wanna Feel Something,” show off the softer, deeper side of Adkins and make a case for the man to be included in the conversation for Male Vocalists at the CMA and ACM award shows.
The three new songs included here run the gamut of Trace Adkins’ later career. “I’ve Got My Game On” comes off as sounding like it was made to be included in promos for playoff sports. Still, it’s not a terrible song by any stretch and fits quite nicely within contemporary country’s current playlists. As an aside, it’s the third songwriter Jamey Johnson has had released by Adkins. If there’s anything wrong with “You’re Gonna Miss This” it’d be that it’s quite similar to a previous hit recorded by Trace. “Then They Do” was on that previous greatest hits record and it touched on how Children grow up too fast and then you’ll miss them when they’re gone and “Miss This” follows the same lyrical path. The last of the new tracks is the title track “American Man.” Like “Game On,” it has a feeling of a song that could find it’s way into a product tie-in of some kind yet the song is most definitely the best of the newly recorded songs. It’s a song that has all the hallmarks of a big hit and one that stands out as one of the best of all of the songs on this album.
While it’s hard not to see this album as a quickly patched together release that is out to get Trace and Capital a few of the free spending holiday bucks, I also can see where it was packaged to tie in with Trace’s newly-released book “Observations and Opinions from a Free-Thinking Roughneck” or his upcoming appearance on Celebrity Apprentice. Whatever the true intention behind the release may never be known, I’m still glad it was released for it allows me to delete almost all of the last three albums off of my iPod and just gives me the hits, which, along with “Greatest Hits, Volume 1.,” is all the casual Trace Adkins fan really needs.