Proud to Be Here (Deluxe Edition) by Trace Adkins

Proud to Be Here is a more than apt title for Trace’s latest album, given the recent upheaval in his personal life due to the loss of his home to a fire. Indeed, Trace’s outlook is even more optimistic than on 2010’s Cowboy’s Back in Town. His penchant for testosterone-filled up-tempo songs is tempered here with sober offerings ranging from country to R&B.

On “Poor Folks,” Trace is in awe of the love in his life and ponders what the “poor folks” who possess only material wealth are doing. The father of five girls, Trace accordingly offers a tender rendering of the father-daughter ode “Just Fishin’,” and the one-time gospel singer shows his spiritual side on “It’s Who You Know,” with preacher Drake Everett guesting.

Some of the boldest tracks come later on the deluxe version of the album, when Trace voices the opinions of patriotic, God-fearing working men and women on “More of Us,” and trades plenty of macho swagger with Blake Shelton on the bluesy honky-tonker “If I Was a Woman,” as the two superstars boast how any woman would be proud to be seen with either of them. Overall, this is one of Trace’s best collections.

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