August 21, 2011 Leave a comment
By Christa Lawler
Duluth News Tribune
Trace Adkins doesn’t write his own songs. He doesn’t move much on stage. He had a guitar that he didn’t hold much, and when he did he just fiddled.
But the country singer has a amassed a collection of hit songs – keg-glass and heck-raising tunes and nostalgia soundtracks – that fans in sleeveless shirts, cowboy hats and calf-high boots want to whoop to. He also has a body like a roadhouse bouncer and a voice so deep it sounds like a record being played a setting too slow.
The star who busted into the scene in the mid-1990s played a
90-minute show for about 3,200 fans on about the best summer night one could ask for at Bayfront Festival Park.
Adkins opened the show with “Whoop a Man’s Ass,” standing center stage in tight black jeans, a tight blue shirt and a black cowboy hat with a long ponytail hanging down his back. While he sang, videos for his songs – some that
appeared on the likes of CMT, some that seemed special to the tour – played on a screen behind him. His band was pushed to the back and sides of the stage.
On “Marry for Money” and “Chrome,” he showed off his growl, hitting bassoon-level depths.
“You’re Gonna Miss This” drew the most amateur video, with tons of cell phones trained on the singer as he sang the slow carpe diem ballad.
He sang “Just Fishin’,” the first single from the album “Proud to be Here,” which comes out on Tuesday. He pointed at the screen and told the audience that his young daughter stars in the heart-tugger about a daddy and his little girl.
Adkins hit his peak toward the end of the show with a cover from the song “How Long,” a hit from the 1970s by Ace. He took his hat off, let his hair down, and rather than stoic guy manning the door seemed taken with the lyrics, his arms raised, pitching forward and back.
. He stayed in that mood for “One in a Million,” a song made popular by Lou Rawls.
In an interview last week, Adkins attributed the longevity of his career to surrounding himself by people who really know what they are doing.
He’s also got good instincts. Adkins closed the show with the C&W response to “Baby Got Back.”
“Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” was introduced as a love song, included strobe lights and had the audience on their feet and singing the chorus.
He sang “Dirty White Boy” for his encore, which didn’t quite match the fervor of “Badonkadonk.”
Relative newbie Glen Templeton opened, a Nashville singer who has made inroads with his ability to channel Conway Twitty. Twitty’s relatives approached Templeton about playing the country legend in a traveling musical a few years ago. Templeton included a mini montage in his hourlong set, taking his vocals a little lower and ramping up his growl for bits of “Slow Hand” and “Don’t Take it Away.”
Templeton, a Cobain-blond in mirrored sunglasses, played Southern rock songs from his debut studio album “GT.” He mixed in an eclectic handful of covers, including “Interstate Love Song,” which worked, “Every Rose Has its Thorn,” which worked better, and Sublime’s “Santaria,” which was clunky and sounded more like a favored song for shower karaoke.
This review ran in the July 30, 2011 edition of the Duluth News Tribune.