If I was a rock star who got offered to perform on CMT Crossroads with Trace Adkins, these are the 10 songs I'd put at the top of my wish list. But first, of course, I have to learn how to sing in tune, play (and hold) a guitar and somehow grow my hair out. Until then, Adkins is teaming with 38 Special for a new episode of CMT Crossroads, which will debut on Saturday (Sept. 27) at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
"Every Light in the House Is On"
The instrumentation is relatively understated, so Adkins' deep vocals are front-and-center on his breakthrough ballad. Have you ever tried to sing the word "gesture" in that lower octave? Not easy to do.
"(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing"
The guy can dance! Thanks to the twangy licks at the beginning, this one's instantly recognizable. Good luck with the tongue-twister in there: "It's physical, chemical, emotional devotion ..."
Although it's about a newly-divorced guy, anybody who's determined to get on with their lives can relate. When this single was released in 2001, things could have gone either way at this uncertain point in Adkins' career, but he forged ahead -- good move. It became a Top 10 single.
"Then They Do"
A new song on his first volume of greatest hits, this ballad firmly introduced Adkins as a family man. It's not as overly sentimental as it could have been, and it's possibly the slowest song in his catalog. He doesn't sing it much in concert, unfortunately.
"Songs About Me"
As somebody who constantly has to justify a career in country music to clueless people, I can relate. I'm only four inches shorter than Trace, so I hope I never have to squeeze in next to him on an airplane.
Adkins is the first to insist that this is not a political song. I'd agree with that. I am grateful that my grandfather came back from the war, but maybe that gives me a greater appreciation for the ones who didn't.
"Honky Tonk Badonkadonk"
When this song was new, I shocked myself at a concert by somehow knowing every line. To this day, I don't know how that happened. I'm thankful that it helped songwriter Jamey Johnson keep the lights on for a while, too.
"I Got My Game On"
A friend who knows almost nothing about country music once said to me, "I like Trace Adkins. He's got some common sense." Of course, she was watching Celebrity Apprentice. Trace, you represented us well.
"I Wanna Feel Somethin'"
Frustration and disenchantment -- not exactly what he's known for lately. (What, no skin?) Although it's somewhat unexpected from him, a lesser singer would have turned this into a melodramatic mess.
"You're Gonna Miss This"
This one's a career song, earning him his first CMA nominations in a decade. When he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry a few years ago, I wondered what he'd some day shuffle out to play in his old age. Now I know.