Picks and Pans Review: Comin' on Strong

updated 12/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

Trace Adkins

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One advantage of becoming an established performer is that you get access to better material. Not that Adkins has exactly been starved for good songs. This, after all, is the guy who sang such successful songs as "There's a Girl in Texas," "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing," "Don't Lie" and "I Left Something Turned On at Home." But his sixth CD's 11 tunes are an unusually varied, ingratiating assortment. There's vigor in the title song, a paean to an aggressive lady in a bar. And "One Nightstand" cleverly juxtaposes a newly single guy's piece of furniture with the night of passion that caused his breakup. Adkins is also one of the few Nashville men who could pull off the hard-charging country rocker "Rough & Ready": "Work boots/One blue suit/ Size too small/Don't wear it at all/Unless somebody kicks/Gets hitched." The opener, "Hot Mama," is a little patronizing, arguing that mothers can be sexy too. And Adkins perhaps needn't work quite so hard to flaunt the macho sound of his baritone. Nobody would question his virility if he found a female singing partner for crooning a nice romantic duet.

COUNTRY

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