This was Trace's sophomore effort. In 1997 it delivered the big hit "Nothin' but Taillights."
After many years on the Gulf Coast and then the Nashville dance-hall circuit, Trace Adkins finally released his debut album, Dreamin' Out Loud
, in 1996. Not only did he score three No. 1 hits, but critics responded warmly to his gorgeous baritone, his tasteful sense of understatement, and his neo-honky-tonk instincts. Adkins, though, is not much of a songwriter--he cowrote two songs on his debut and two more on his followup, Big Time
. As a result, he's only as good as the songs he sings, and the 10 new tunes on the new album are a pretty lackluster bunch. The title track is one verbal and music cliché after another ("A sip of champagne by candlelight ... let 'em dance until the cows come home" he sings over a generic Brooks & Dunn ripoff), and it sets the tone for the whole project. "See Jane Run" is meant to parody the naivet´ of first-grade readers but merely reproduces it. "Nothin' But Taillights" has the misfortune of appearing in the wake of the much better, similarly-named title track on the new Clint Black album. Adkins can still be an appealing singer when he gets the right material, as he proves on a haunting, unplugged version of the old hymn, "Wayfaring Stranger." --Geoffrey Himes