Even if you’re not a country music fan, odds are you’re familiar with Trace Adkins and his trademark baritone voice, which has churned out top hits such as You’re Gonna Miss This, Ladies Love Country Boys, Arlington and Songs About Me.
In addition to selling more than 11 million albums during his two-decade-plus career, the Grand Ole Opry star is also an actor, author, voice-over artist, and spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project and the American Red Cross.
On June 21, the country renaissance man will play the Ridgefield Playhouse in support of his How Did We Get Here tour. Keith Loria spoke with him about his upcoming show.
Keith Loria: What can you preview about the show?
Trace Adkins: We’ll try to get in the songs they’ve heard on the radio over the years and we’ll throw in a couple of things off the last album, but it’s mostly a greatest hits show.
KL: You first started touring more than 20 years ago, what is it that keeps you coming back year after year?
TA: I love being in front of the people and sharing the experience together. I still get a kick out of it. If I didn’t have fun performing live, I wouldn’t do this anymore.
KL: You do a great deal for Wounded Warriors and use your celebrity to bring attention to important causes. Why is that such an important thing for you?
TA: We see those guys every night, just about before every show. We enjoy visiting with those folks and I do whatever I can to raise awareness to veteran organizations. I’ve been doing it for close to 15 years. It’s one of the most rewarding things I have done in my career. It’s wonderful to associate with these heroes.
KL: What is it about this business that you enjoy most?
TA: To continually feel the excitement that comes after whipping up a new song out of thin air and laying it down to tape. It’s an adrenaline rush and I love it.
KL: It’s been more than a year since your “Something’s Going On” album was released. When can people expect some new music from you?
TA: I just started working with Bart Millard, a producer in Nashville and this will be the first time I am working with him. We’re getting ready to go into the studio and work on my next record. I really love that, too. It’s my favorite thing that I do in music — going into the studio with a really great brand and cut tracks.
KL: How would you characterize working in Nashville and why that’s still the place you want to record?
TA: We get to draw from some of the most talented musicians in the country. When you go into a studio with those guys and start creating and laying those tracks down, it really is a stimulating experience and I look forward to it every time.
KL: Your concerts have people from all ages attending. How do you connect with younger generations to get them interested in your music?
TA: I have no idea, I’m just glad they come and I appreciate everyone who comes out to the show. I did some social media when it first started but it grossed me out — the level of evil and hate — so I use it pretty much as a tool just to let people know what I’m doing. I don’t engage.
KL: How interactive are you during your show? Are you someone who likes to just go from one song to the next or do you engage the crowd with stories and anecdotes?
TA: It’s more than just playing and that’s the allure of the live audience thing. Hopefully, something happened to me during the day that lets me talk about where I am and where they live, and something funny comes out of it.