Album Review: Trace Adkins - “Something’s Going On”

 

Posted By Matt Bjorke 

Now with Wheelhouse Records, Trace Adkins has selected a collection of songs which suit his rich voice and overall style. 

It’s been a few minuets since Trace Adkins scored a massive hit but that doesn’t mean he’s been idle. Instead, he’s been hard at work making Something’s Going On, a record which is the first of hopefully many more to come from Wheelhouse Records. The album features the strong single “Watered Down,” a slight throwback to 90s and 2000s country where honest stories of confronting aging and life in general were more likely to be heard. The melody is strong and the lyric is relatable. It’s Real. Honest. Country. The title tune “Something’s Going On” showcases the romantic side of Trace Adkins’ music that has often been a staple of his live show with his rich baritone showing nuance and verve in the smoldering baby making song.

There are a few moments of modern country radio influence in “Gonna Make You Miss Me” and “Ain’t Just The Whiskey Talkin’” But they’re still very much Trace Adkins songs even if they feel like they could have been sung by anyone. “Still A Soldier” is a song which any retired military member will relate to while the romantic power ballad “Hang” serves as a strong closing song to the album.

Trace Adkins has nothing to prove to anyone yet he’s still out there making the kind of records fans have long admired from him. While there are a few misses on the record, the majority of Something’s Going On works and makes for the best record he’s released since the height of his Capitol days. Check it out below on Spotify.

Trace Adkins Reveals Which Songs on his New Album Moved Him to Tears

 CHUCK DAUPHIN • APRIL 4, 2017 - 6:10 AM

 

Trace Adkins; Publicity Photo

Something’s Going On is the twelfth studio album from Trace Adkins dating back to 1996’s Dreamin’ Out Loud. It’s also his first since 2013’s Love Will… Nobody is more surprised by the amount of time between records than Adkins himself. “I didn’t think it had been that long,” he admits to Sounds Like Nashville. “I was surprised by that. It didn’t seem like it had been that long, but we took our time. We didn’t get in a hurry.”

The disc is Adkins’ debut project for his new label home, BBR Music Group / Wheelhouse Records. After self-releasing his holiday album The King’s Gift in 2013, he considered staying on his own. But, the chance to join the growing team at Broken Bow was too good to pass up.

“I’ve jokingly said it, but there’s some truth to it, I had my career exactly where I wanted it, but then I screwed around and got another record deal,” he says, adding that he is hitting the road with the work ethic of a new artist. “Last year was the busiest for me, as far as being gone from home that I’ve had since 1997 or so. We were gone a lot last year between touring and getting back in the radio game and doing all of that stuff. That was the biggest change, going back out and doing all of that again.”

BBR / Wheelhouse has turned out to be a great pairing Adkins, he says. “There was some interest, and management got to talking to me about it. They said the label was excited about it. So, I went and had some meetings with them, and said ‘Let’s do it.’ I was impressed by all the people at Broken Bow. They’re all such good folks, and have been having such big success, it seemed like a good idea.”

The album is full of material that will his longtime fans will undoubtedly embrace, but Adkins says there was some new musical territory on the disc that he was encouraged to tackle by his producer, Mickey Jack Cones. “He challenged me on this record, and I liked that. But, he’s always done that. I’ve been doing vocals with him for years, but this was the first time that he produced the record. There were a few songs that I would tell him ‘I don’t hear my voice on that,’ and he’d say ‘Dude, that’s what’s going to be cool about it – your voice on this song. People aren’t going to expect that. I did it, and ended up being one of my favorite tracks on the record. I had a lot of fun doing this record with him.”

The centerpiece of the album might very well be “Watered Down,” the current single from the project. Adkins says that it’s a lyric that he might not have been able to deliver as strongly early on in his career. “It’s not a song that a young kid can sing. You need to have seen a few sunsets to sing that one, and lived the kind of life that I’ve lived, and get to that point where you realize that you’re going to have to temper your vices. It’s like that old Waylon song, ‘Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This,’ You have to realize that you can’t do that stuff anymore, and you’ve got to calm down a little bit. It doesn’t mean that you’re not as passionate or as crazy as you once were, but you’ve just got to calm down a little bit.”

 

If – in the words of Brad Paisley – Adkins could write a letter to himself when he broke onto the scene, what would he say? “I’d tell myself to be a little more patient. I think that’s been a problem with me throughout my career,” he says, adding that the pace of the music business differs from his previous career. “Coming from the background that I did, working in the oil field ten years before I did this, it was always zero patience. It was assholes and elbows every day. If your boss came to you and told you to do something, that meant you were in trouble. You should have already done that. That was the background I came from. Everybody was expected to do their job. It was a team sport working on a drilling rig. Everything has to work and is choreographed to make it all work right. When somebody drops the ball, you come down on them. Then, you get in this business, and it’s not like that. There is no sense of urgency in this business, it doesn’t seem. Everything moves at its’ own pace, and no matter what you do, you can’t speed that up. That was hard for me, and it still is to this day. I don’t understand why people aren’t as light on their feet as they should be. You start dealing with the bureaucracy of not just this business, but the corporations that are considering sponsorships or whatever. It just gets frustrating, and tests your patience.”

Adkins’ female following will definitely gravitate toward the saucy title track, which brings to mind some of the 80s records from acts such as Conway Twitty and Charley Pride. “I can hear Conway doing that one,” he admits. “It’s a suggestive song. My records are always going to have those on there. I remember with ‘I Left Something Turned On At Home,’ my mom told me ‘You’re going to have to explain to your two little girls what that song is about.”

One of the more emotional cuts on Something’s Going On is the wistful “Whippoorwills and Freight Trains,” where the singer definitely tapped into some deep emotional waters. “There are a lot of songs on this record that are reflective, and kind of express where I’ve been in my head for the last few years,” he reflects. “There were about three songs on this record where I vividly recall getting halfway through the song as I was doing vocals, and I told Mickey ‘You’re going to have to give me a minute. I’ve got to compose myself,’ because they were tearing me up. That was one of them, along with ‘Watered Down’ and ‘If Only You Were Lonely.’ It’s cool that songs like that can still move me in that way. I’m not jaded to the point that I can’t still be broken down by that kind of poignant song.”

Adkins’ new album, Something’s Going Onis out now.