Cowboy’s Back in Town

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On his aptly titled Show Dog-Universal debut, Trace neatly balances rugged, John Wayne-tough tunes such as the title track (which Trace co-wrote) and “Whoop a Man’s Ass” with the smoldering track “Break Her Fall” and the album’s sensual centerpiece, “Still Love You.” As with any good cowboy, even Trace’s more tender moments claim a certain masculine dignity, avoiding excessive sentimentality. While “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” moved Trace’s music from the honky-tonks to the dance clubs, the uncharacteristically sunny lyrics and background rapping by labelmate trio Trailer Choir on “Don’t Mind If I Don’t” could pave more new trails for the singer. Trace returns to form with his redneck perspective on weddings and state pride, respectively, in “Hold My Beer” and “Ala-Freakin-Bama.” Mostly, Cowboy’s Back in Town proves that this cowboy never left.

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