In the opening moments of the title track from his new CD, Trace refers to himself as “Mr. Dependable.” It’s a pretty fair description.
Over 10 years and seven albums, Trace has become such a reliable hitmaker that he’s often overlooked. That’s not quite fair—with a deep, distinctive baritone, easy likeability and a surefire ear for a hit song, he’s earned a prominent place in the country pantheon.
On the other hand, Dangerous Man is a textbook example of why Trace doesn’t get the kind of attention that other, lesser artists receive. Even after scoring a breakout hit earlier this year with the daring, hip-hop-laced “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” (reprised here in its video remix version), Trace plays it resolutely safe throughout Dangerous Man. He salutes rural life (“Southern Hallelujah,” “Ladies Love Country Boys”), fatherhood (“I Came Here to Live,” “The Stubborn One”), the fans (“High”), God, his mama and the American flag (“Fightin’ Words”)—laudable, but not exactly “dangerous.” Dangerous Man is a little more adventurous musically, boasting slightly edgier-than-usual mainstream country with a Southern-rock underpinning.
Nonetheless, it’s all good stuff, and almost any of these tracks could be a hit. That’s the upside of having “Mr. Dependable” around—you can depend on him.