(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
After Trace Adkins told me about the kinds of music he didn't approve of, I asked him about the kinds of music he did like. Because his concert had its share of cover songs, but not your typical Waylon/Merle/Conway fare. Clearly, Adkins was raised on '70s music. He did Ace's "How Long" (only way sexier), Larry Graham's "One in a Million You" (which he told me was a big hit during his freshman year at Louisiana Tech University) and then ended the show with Foreigner's "Dirty White Boy" (which sounds much better as a country song, I have to say). "I still listen to classic rock most of the time," he told me after his Sunday (Oct. 2) night show in Chicago. "It takes me back. If I listen to country music, I have to listen to a classic country station to find those old songs I grew up with." As for the country music that's being made today, he said he does like what's going on. "It's really a reflection of producers hitting their stride. Most of them are my age. They've been influenced by all that same music, too." Plus, Adkins has fond memories of growing up in his tiny Louisiana hometown. Last year, he took his wife Rhonda back for his high school reunion. "It was fun. Of course, my graduating class wasn't but 32 people, and I'd say 20 of 'em showed back up. We all just laughed and talked about old times. Nobody talked about what I do. I've told those boys, 'Y'all are the ones who have changed. Not me. I'm the same guy, I just have a weirder job than you have.'"