Trace Adkins reached new heights in 2003. The 6-foot-6-inch singer earned his first number one record on the sales chart and received his first gold album in five years. Here, Adkins tells CMT.com about his sexy new album, his current single and making those steamy videos.
CMT: Your new album, Comin’ On Strong is out just five months after you released your Greatest Hits. Why so soon?
Adkins: Because we had it done. It was already done. Actually, when we went into the studio last November, the producers and I thought we were going in to make another full-length album. And after we recorded a couple of songs, the label came to me and said, “Hey, we want your next thing to be a greatest hits project.” So we gave them those first two songs, but then we just continued on recording and working on it. We were done with this album about the time the Greatest Hits album came out.
A lot of songs on this new album are very sexy. I’m not complaining, but you almost want a cigarette after listening to them. Was that a deliberate move on your part?
I don’t think it was a conscious effort. I don’t think that I was intentionally going for that. But it just seemed that the songs that we ended up with for this project, just seemed to be like that. And I don’t have a problem with it.
You seem to branch out on Comin’ On Strong. You do a recitation and you sing about everything from adultery to gun racks. How would you describe this album?
It is mature. It deals with adult subject matter. I don’t think it warrants an explicit sticker, but it’s pretty close. (laughs) I don’t make records for kids, at least not this one. I may do that someday, but this is not it. But I really like the subjects that we deal with. There’s some heavy stuff that we deal with on this album, and I’m not afraid to deal with that stuff.
When I first heard the title track, I thought it was cocky and sweet, and it made me laugh out loud. What drew you to it?
I love that song. And the reason that I love that song is just exactly what you said. It takes me through this roller coaster ride of emotions. Yeah, it’s the cocky attitude and then at the same time, this guy is completely vulnerable. I mean, whatever defenses he had, this woman has destroyed them. And he realizes that and so there’s that vulnerability there. This guy is just at her mercy. Completely. And that song can make me laugh, can make me smile and can choke me up and bring a tear to my eye. When you are completely at somebody’s mercy like that, it’s a dangerous place to be.
What was it about “Hot Mama” that made you want to record it?
I recorded it for myself and for millions of men out there like me who just want to say to our wives, “We’re tired of the new diet that keeps you hungry all the time. We’re tired of the new exercise regimen that keeps you tired all the time. You’re stressing out about how you look in this outfit and … enough! I dig you. I love you just the way you are and stop worrying about all that. I mean, putting pressure on yourself is all you’re doing. So unless you’re looking for a new boyfriend, give it a rest and let’s just enjoy each other’s company.” That’s kind of where I was going with that song, you know? Only lately have I found out that some people thought it was sexist. (laughs)
That couldn’t have anything to do with the video, could it?
Uh … I don’t know. You think? (laughs)
Tell us about being on set that day. You’ve scaled down since “Chrome.” In “Chrome,” you had several girls, and in this video, you only have one.
This song is about a relationship between a husband and a wife, and they have kids and the whole thing. It was so much fun to do this video. And of course, I wanted it to have the same kind of attitude that “Chrome” had. So we went back to Michael Salomon, of course, because I knew he’d give me what I was looking for. And we just went with the “Chrome” girl again because she was, well, she’s a work of art. So what’s the problem? We went back and used — no, begged — her to do this one, too.
Are we ever going to see you run through a sprinkler?
(laughs) I don’t know. Maybe. If the right guy were chasing me, you might see me running.
What about “Rough & Ready?” It sounds like you had a blast recording it.
Yeah, that’s maybe the most fun I’ve ever had, you know, doing a vocal on a song. Because I, really, there’s not a whole lot of that song where I even had to be on pitch. I was just (grrrrrr) growling a lot of it. And it’s irreverent and it’s out there and it talks about my people. I mean, I am that guy and I know those guys, and when I first heard that song, I thought about my baby brother. He was exactly the guy that this song is about, and so I think about all those things. And, you know, I’ve never done a song that said “a*****e” and “b***h.”
“Missing You” is a song about life on an offshore oilrig, which you can identify with personally. Is it an accurate depiction?
That song is right on what life is like on a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. And that’s the song on this album that makes me cry when I listen to it. Even now when I listen to it. It just takes me back to that time and that whole lifestyle. Those guys that you’re working with out there become a family to you and the teamwork that’s involved in the day-to-day drilling of an oil well. It’s all about teamwork and depending on one another. At the same time, even though the work is hard and labor intensive and dangerous, the hardest part about being out there, is being cut off from your family and the people that you love. That song just kills me.
That memory’s still fresh?
Even though it’s been years.