Trace Adkins has been called the "alpha male" of modern country music, an imposing presence in an era when larger-than-life personalities are, well, seemingly everywhere.

"I just don't see it. I don't know why anyone says that about me," he laughed in his instantly-recognizable baritone voice in a telephone interview with Jennifer Chancellor of World Scene Writer.
"At least I'm alpha male in my house, though," he laughed again, referring to raising five daughters and living with his wife, Rhonda, in Nashville.

But Adkins is tough: Not too many years ago, he was shot through both lungs and his heart by his ex-wife, willingly threw himself into brawls and nearly severed a finger in an oil rig accident. He's also wrangled with alcohol addiction — and has been sober for five years, even while headlining national tours awash in temptations.
"Growing up, it was all music," he said. "Mostly gospel, 'til, shoot, about 20 years old. "Granddaddy was a great bass singer. I used to love to stand beside him in church and listen to him sing."

Trace's uncle was J.W. (thats James W. ) Carraway, the popular Christian artist (and railroad engineer) most commonly known as the "Singing Engineer." He recorded music for Zondervan Publishing House before Stamps bought them out. Some of his recordings were, “I’m Just a Singing Pilgrim”, “Beyond the Sunset”, and “James Carraway Sings Hymns to Live By”.

"Uncle John played boogie woogie piano at all of our family gatherings and Mama and all my aunts sang in the choir. As you can see, I grew up with music.”

But by age 20, he'd expanded his love of performing beyond his small home town of Sarepta, La. Through the early '80s, he broke in his country music boots the old fashioned way — stomping out tunes at jamborees and hay rides. And by 1996, he'd made his major-label debut with "Dreamin' Out Loud." Some ten album releases later, Adkins has accomplished more than he ever dreamed was possible. "I mean, sure I dreamed about it," he said in his slow drawl. "But I'm a realist, too. I never, ever banked on anything."

Indeed, Adkins' life is lived by balancing that tottering fence between blue-collar, All-American roughneck and lovable, small-town daydreamer. When CMT asked Trace the most cherished memory of his childhood, he said.

“It's just really hard to pick just one memory. I had a great childhood ... a really close family. Both sets of my grandparents lived in the same little town. My parents both grew up in that little town, and it was like one huge in family. ... Springhill -- population about 1,000 people. So I guess that would be my most cherished memory -- growing up in that kind of environment. It was like a very safe cocoon that I grew up in.

Trace (born January 13, 1962) is the oldest of three boys born to Peggy Carraway Adkins, a teacher, and Aaron Adkins, a cattle farmer and retired paper mill worker. Tracy “Trace” Darrell Adkins and brothers, Clay and Scott grew up in Sarepta, Louisiana, where Trace was a member of the FFA, delivered the national rural newspaper “Grit".

“The place where I grew up in Louisiana backed up to a wildlife reserve,” he says. “I had thousands of acres of pristine woodlands and bayous and I just spent so much of my time out there. I never really wanted to go anywhere else. I was, quite frankly, intimidated by the city; my old man too. He never had any need to go to town.

His father, Aaron Adkins, worked in a mill and instilled a dedicated work ethic in his young son. “There was always work needing to be done,” he says. “My father was a quiet man and you did what was expected of you, and there was no questioning his orders or suggestions. That’s where I learned the rewards of honest, hard work. You could always see the results of your efforts.

Adkins' father gave him a guitar on Christmas morning when he was 10. "I didn't ask for one; I'm not sure why he did it," said Adkins. "But he also paid some guy to give me lessons." (According to the community of Springhill, Trace's teacher, Ron Riley, was from their community and they offer this tidbit about his early life .... Trace and a friend of his that played drums performed together in talent shows at the school. The friend, Danny Reeve, always did the singing. At the time, Tracy was too shy to sing. One of Trace earliest performaces was at age 11, Trace sang "Put Your Hand In The Hand" at A Kiwanis Pancake and Talent Festival in Shreveport, La.

"There wasn't any doubt what kind of music I'd be playing. My daddy was, and still is, a huge country music fan; that's all he ever listened to. He didn't go to church; he'd stay home and listen to Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. I learned all those songs on that guitar," Trace said.

Trace has said one of his best Fourth of July memories almost ended with a visit from the fire department. He chuckles, as he remembers being about 14 and setting the pasture behind his house on fire. He says "we just kept shooting bottle rockets and then happened to notice that the whole pasture was on fire.

Trace played every sport his high school offered, football because he loved it, and basketball because he was the tallest kid in school. His passion for football helped his team reach the regionals, while his distain for basketball contributed to the worse season his school had recorded.

At 17, he survived his first brush with death. On his way to school driving his 1955 pickup, the windshield frosted except a small porthole shaped area, he suddenly found himself blinded by the sun and ran into the rear of a school bus. No one on the bus was injured but Trace was not so lucky. Both lungs were punctured, ribs were broken and Adkins' nose was severed and had to be "sewn back on."

That same year, a quartet from New Sarepta Baptist Church asked him to play the guitar with them while they sang. They were practicing for a youth banquet at the church. At the back of the group, Trace began to harmonize with them. Hearing his deep bass voice and the quartet's leader asked him to come up front and sing with them. This was the beginning of the New Commitment Quartet. They performed for area churches during his high school years and during college. The group recorded two albums for an independent label: The New Commitment Quartet, released in 1979, and The Best of the New Commitment Quartet, released in 1980.

Adkins left the New Commitment Quartet after a preacher refused to allow him to enter his church because of Trace's long hair, which was not nearly as long as the mane he is famous for today.

"I learned more about music in the five years that I sang bass in the gospel quartet than any other time. Basically, you're learning music theory in a hands-on kind of way--without the books. From that, too, I also learned about the sincerity with which you have to approach your songs. Because if you sing gospel music and you don't really mean what you're singing about, not only are the people going to see through it, but you're going to feel bad about yourself, too. You're going to be hypocritical and just up there mouthing the words.

"That's something that really carries over for me in country music," continues Adkins. "I purposely pick songs for projects that, somewhere in that song, something strikes a chord in my heart that really means something. It could either be about an experience that I've had or one that I am having. I can sing some of the verses in my songs and know those feelings all too well. Now, in my life, I also know the joys in those positive love songs. But then when I sing a light-hearted, up tempo song, that's exactly how I feel, too. I may feel like dancing.

Upon graduating high school third in his class, the 6 foot 6 inch Adkins played defensive end for the football team at Louisiana Tech University where he studied petroleum technology. However, after two years of college, repeated knee injuries ended his chances of a career in sports and led to his putting education on hold.
Around the same time, Adkins married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Lewis, with whom he had two daughters, Tarah who was born in 1983 and Sarah who was born in 1985, but the union ended four years later.
At 23, Adkins took a pipefitting job on an off-shore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, spending the next eight years or so working in the oil industry as a derrick man and pipe fitter who never gave up playing music even while giving the Global Marine Drilling Co., among others, more than a decade of long days and hard labor.

“I grew up in the oilfield, and that’s who I am and what I am,” Adkins says. “I’m a Southern gentleman—polite, hospitable and respectful—but I’m not going to try to be squeaky clean. I’m not that kind of person. I’m a roughneck, and I won’t try to hide it.”
"My philosophy is very simple," Trace said in 2004. "It comes from the oil fields, a roughneck work ethic, that you go out on the rig and you put in 12 hours and at the end of the day you are fatigued to the point where you cannot move and you have the satisfaction of knowing that you did a good job that day, you earned your money. But you also know that you are going to hit the rack and get seven or eight hours of sleep and it doesn't matter how hard you worked, or how good a job you did, you have to get up and do it again tomorrow." He still carries that work ethic with him today.

Another thing Adkins couldn’t hide was his passion for singing, songwriting and entertaining. Transferring his years of gospel experience towards his true love of country music. His coworkers heard him playing and singing, and, in 1985, one of them connected him with the Louisiana band "Bayou Speak Easy." Adkins sang lead in the group and wrote its 1986 single, "Bayou Sunrise." Other members of the band included: Glen Colliver, Sound Tech, from Wichita Falls, Texas; Randy Stafford, Keyboard Player; Billy Bob "Bear" Middleton, Guitar Player and Clint Pitre, Drummer, from Oppelousas, Louisiana.

"I had been takin' just my guitar around to little jamborees and hayrides around home on the weekends, doing a couple of Haggard tunes or something, but I wanted to be in a band," Adkins told POLLSTAR.

Adkins began playing the honky-tonk circuit in the south and southwest and performed at local venues whenever possible. Bayou eventually won a regional talent contest and competed in the national finals in Nashville, Tennessee. After this success, Adkins spent four years touring with Bayou in cities in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Mississippi.

Adkins had to learn to feel the emotions in both his songs and his audiences-especially those from the honky-tonk circuit. But quite often, the crowds weren't as easy to perform for as they are today. Adkins developed a performing style he described as "combat country."

"Combat country, to me, means a lot of things. First of all, it can mean going from Merle Haggard to Jimi Hendricks in the same set," he explains. "It was also an attitude that I would take the stage with in all the clubs. I can always tell the feeling that's in the room--whether I'm making the contact I need to or not. When I don't it's no one's fault but my own. When you're a bar band and playing five or six nights a week in one town and then go to another town and do the same thing again, the people coming in there aren't really coming to see you. It's their local hang-out, and you just happen to be the band playing there that week. I would always go in there knowing that, along with the feeling of 'Now you're going to pay attention!' It was really almost like a combative attitude. I was going in there to fight for their attention. So that gave me the incentive to play as hard as I could and do whatever I could to get their attention."

Looking back, he said, "I lost everything I owned, I went through a divorce, then I kept partying too hard, chasing (women), chasing the dream, staying in trouble all the time. But I wouldn't trade that experience 'cause I learned everything that you're NOT supposed to do. I already made all those mistakes before I got my break.

"I played some really rough little beer joints and stuff. I think maybe my all-time worst gig was at a wedding reception. We played the song for the bride and groom to dance to, and the next song was going to be grandparents and the parents and all that. So, we started the second song and about half way through, grandma fell dead on the floor.

And we were still playing, and finally, the father turned around and yelled, "Stop! For God's sake, stop playing. My mother's dead."And I looked at the guys and was like, "What do we do now? OK, let's wait." And they tried to revive her, bless her heart, and she's dead. And after they hauled her away, we were all still standing there, because this is unprecedented. So we asked somebody, very politely, "Do you want us to continue to play?" And they're like, "No, you're done."

And then the guys [in the band] go, "We gotta get paid." I said, "What?" They said, "You've got to go ask for our money." I said, "Why me?" "Because you're the lead singer. Go get our money."I hated that! I was like, "Look, dude, I really hate to ask this, and if it was just me, I'd let it slide. But the guys ..." That was a bad gig. He was fairly surly when he was giving us the money. That was the last reception we did.

"Trace was a struggling musician like the rest of us trying to make a name for himself on the Texas circuit," said bandmate Randy Stafford. If it was going to put food in our stomachs, he'd call it on stage. I learned a lot, to say the least. I was in awe how we could go night after night, wondering how we were going to get anywhere doing this for very long. But, Trace kept us working until finally in the Summer of 1989 he'd had enough. He went back to Louisiana to try and regain his perspective."

Trace, now a single father of two little girls, grew disillusioned with the music business and returned to the drilling rigs. Nonetheless, when he cut off his left pinkie while opening an oil-barrel lid he asked doctors to sew it back on in a permanent bend so he could still play the guitar. But riding out hurricanes on swaying oil rigs in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico wasn't Adkins' dream. He was a singer who grew up listening to his father's Merle Haggard and Buck Owens records. Adkins was headed to Nashville.
One day, a man named John Milam, who had been his booking agent with Bayou, phoned and asked if Adkins was still singing. Adkins told him no. Milam said, "You're going to have to look at yourself in the mirror when you get to be 50 years old and ask yourself the question, 'I wonder what would have happened if?"

That thought scared Adkins worse than selling his house and moving to Nashville, so he headed to Music City in 1992 with a new wife and two little daughters and got a "little gig in a little bitty beer joint" called Tillie's and Lucy's.

Much of Adkins' music is drawn from his own experiences. His greatest flirtation with death, occurred February 1st 1994 when Adkins and his second wife of three years, Julie Curtis, got into an argument over his beer drinking. Curtis grabbed the family's .38 pistol.

"Being a macho guy like I am, I tried to scare it out of her hand," he recalled to Samantha Miller of People. I said, 'Give me the gun, or I'm gonna take it away from you...." Despite the threat, Curtis reacted by firing the gun.

"The bullet passed through both my lungs and both ventricles of my heart. What my hunting buddies would call a 'kill shot." He staggered into his tiled Florida room for fear of bleeding on the carpet. "I thought, 'if I bleed on this new Berber carpet, she might shoot me again,"' he writes in his book.

Adkins' torso is covered in scars from the event. After recovering from several surgeries to repair his heart and lungs and divorcing Curtis (Adkins declined pressing charges and the police ruled the shooting accidental), his luck, in terms of his musical career began to change.

"It's a lot easier to sing with conviction, passion and emotion," said Adkins, "if it's something I've experienced. "

After his divorce from Curtis, Adkins began dating Rhonda Forlaw, who worked in the publicity department at Arista Records. One night, he went to pick her up at the airport. At the baggage claim, she introduced him to Scott Hendricks, president/CEO of Capitol Nashville. Forlaw, who later became Mrs. Trace Adkins, told the music exec that her beau was a singer. Hendricks was so impressed with Adkins speaking voice that he went to hear him sing.

"That weekend, [Hendricks] came out and listened to the first set and soon as I was done, he just walked up on stage and said, 'I'll give you a record deal.' That was the first thing out of his mouth," Adkins said.

Was the country singer hesitant about signing the first deal offered? "Hell no!" He said Hendricks' reputation certainly preceded him. "I respected him before I'd even met him.... So if I had the opportunity to make records with Scott Hendricks, I was gonna. You'd had to shoot me to keep me from doing it."

With the record deal in place, the search for the rest of Adkins' business team commenced. He eventually signed with Borman Entertainment. When he talked with Gary Borman, things clicked. "I personally was almost in awe of him because of his professionalism and knowledge of the industry," Adkins said. Adkins wasn't just impressed with Borman's accomplishments, however."What I really liked about Gary Borman is that he didn't have that Reuben Kincaid attitude..... It wasn't that typical manager bullshit." Adkins said Borman's number one priority is family.
"And that's cool, man."
Adkins issued his debut album, Dreamin' Out Loud, in 1996, and it established him as a rising star. The lead single, "Every Light in the House," went to number three; "I Left Something Turned on at Home" hit number two; and "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing" went all the way to number one. Trace dedicated the album to his brother Scott. “He was killed in a truck wreck. He wrecked his truck and it killed him when he was 21. He was a great, great, great kid. He was my first fan,” Trace said.

Accepting his first invitation to appear on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in 1996, Trace received considerable attention from the press when he took the unusual step of proposing to his girlfriend, Rhonda during the show. The couple married on May 11, 1997, exchanged their vows in a fairytale-like wedding complete with a penned and performed ballad from the groom and a horse-drawn carriage for the beautiful bride in the garden of Nashville's historic Belle Meade Mansion.

After Trace and Rhonda exchanged rings, Trace sang "The Rest of Mine," a song he wrote with Kenny Beard, who accompanied him on guitar at the ceremony. They have since added three more daughters to their family, Mackenzie who was born in 1998, Brianna who was born in 2001 and Trinity who was born in 2004.

His 1997 follow-up album, Big Time, spawned another Top Five hit with "The Rest of Mine," the song he penned for wife, Rhonda. "Lonely Won't Leave Me Alone" just missed the Top Ten. However, it wasn't quite the commercial powerhouse of Dreamin' Out Loud; neither was its follow-up. Still, the Academy of Country Music voted him its top new male vocalist and Country Weekly magazine proclaimed him favorite male newcomer.

In November of 1999, Adkins released his third album, More..., which Adkins himself described as "a little edgier," as quoted on his website, than his first two offerings. "I think there 's a little rawness to it," he said. "This one is medium-rare. And that's exactly what I wanted. I'm gonna open myself up and let people see what I'm about. This is who I am." More... included songs such as "Working Man's Wage," a tribute to blue-collar parents, "The Night He Can't Remember," a pivotal night in the life of a man with an alcohol problem, and "Every Other Friday at Five," a heartbreaking account of a divorced father. All three of Trace's first albums made the country Top Ten.

That desire to release the best possible album also finds him often shelving his own compositions in favor of other songs. "I do write a lot of stuff during the year but, much to the dismay of the guys I write with, I usually find something by someone else that I like better."

One example is "Every Other Friday at Five," written by Steven Dale Jones. Adkins wept when he first heard it. He explained that he has two children from his first marriage and, as he put it, "I've been the man in that song. You hear about deadbeat dads and dads that don't take care of their kids, but this song is an anthem for men who aren't like that. I think divorced fathers get a bad rap, because so many of them love their children and want so desperately to be a part of their lives."

Remaining in the limelight, Adkins in the May 30, 2000, issue of Country Weekly was listed as one of the Top 25 Sexiest Country Stars, and on August 2, 2000, made his acting debut on the TNN original series 18 Wheels of Justice.

He also began to seek recognition outside the country music scene, appearing on the Saturday Early Show on the CBS television network on September 9 of that year. Later that month, the Nashville Music Awards nominated Adkins, a continued local favorite, for Male Vocalist of the Year.

Throughout Adkins' career, touring has remained important. Surprisingly, he never perceived a loaded tour schedule as an extreme hardship. Rather, he always enjoyed performing for and meeting with his fans. As he explained, "Performing live is something I absolutely live for."

2001's Chrome brought Adkins into the Top Five of the country album charts for the first time, as the Top Ten lead single, "I'm Tryin'," proved to be his biggest hit since "The Rest of Mine." He did it with the aid of two producers who themselves are very different--longtime Adkins buddy Trey Bruce, son of country notable Ed Bruce, who handled the bulk of both his previous album and this one, and Dann Huff, who recently has worked with such other names as Faith Hill and Lonestar--and for the first time in his career Adkins took six months off to focus totally on recording.

He approached this project, his fourth for Capitol, with a little of the sort of steadfast doggedness exhibited by the hero of “I’m Tryin’.” It emerges from the industrial-strength attitude of the singer himself. That most recent change reunited Trace with old friends. Capitol President Mike Dungan and marketing chief Fletcher Foster were among the people who, when they were at Arista, first discovered Adkins and offered to develop his career.

Throughout his life, Trace has been accident-prone. His nose was reattached after a highway crash in high school. He fractured his ankle after stepping in a hole and cut the tips of his fingers off while while using a front-end loader and trailer to move some rocks in order to solve an erosion problem at his farm. He dislodged a 400-pound boulder that rolled over his hand. Both fingers were crushed.

In October 2002 Trace Adkins found himself at a Nashville-area hospital following an accident on his farm in Rutherford County, Tenn. Adkins was building a gravel road when the small tractor he was operating toppled on him after a portion of the new road collapsed. Trapped beneath the tractor, Adkins called for help after retrieving a cell phone from the pocket of his overalls.

"Trace sustained a crush injury to his chest and a rib-sternum separation," Dr. Craig Farrell, the attending physician, said Wednesday (Oct. 9) 2002. "He also has bruises to his shoulder and pelvis. He is alert and stable but still under observation to rule out an associated cardiac contusion.

Recovering at home, he said of the incident for a press release: "Well, it's been a solid year since I paid my last visit to the hospital, and I was missing all my friends in the emergency room." Luckily, Adkins received a good prognosis after surgery and made a full recovery in less than two months.

"That accident didn’t keep him down for long, the United States was at war and Trace celebrated Thanksgiving, away from his wife and kids, on board the USS Abraham Lincoln at sea to be with the crew, and he made his reasoning perfectly clear.“I didn’t come over here as an entertainer,” he said. “I came over here as a grateful, thankful American to say that we miss you, and we’ll be glad when you get back home. Thank you for what you’re doing.” His message also came in the form of a show Nov. 27 in front of a full house in the ship's hangar bay.
In 2003, he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. The 6’6” country music star looked 4’11” Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens in the eyes—a stepladder was involved—and accepted Little Jimmy’s invitation to join the Opry cast. It was an emotional night for Trace, who says the event was a huge honor and definitely one of the biggest highlights of his professional career. "It was fairly solid proof that at least I would be a historical footnote," he joked.

"I guess my daddy's always been proud of me and everything, but then when he found out that I was gonna be a member of the Grand Ole Opry, that was like, 'Well, you finally made it,' and that's what the Opry is," Adkins said. "It's the top of the mountain, you know?"
The singer's mile-wide grin remained a permanent fixture when Adkins spoke with reporters backstage about joining the prestigious institution. "It's such an elite group of legendary performers, and I don't deserve it, you know . . . whatever, but it's just a huge honor," Adkins added. "I'm thrilled tonight. Like I said, I'm king of the world tonight. There's gonna be some changes made around here."
In 2003, Capitol released Greatest Hits Collection, Vol. 1 and its companion DVD, Video Hits, in February 2004. Adkins's fifth studio album, the December 2003 release Comin' on Strong, was sandwiched in between.

In 2005, Adkins had a major hit with "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" from his album Songs About Me. 'Honky Tonk Badonkadonk' brought country to hip-hop with Adkins' bizarre mixture of blingin' rap imagery, down-south country girls, cheap beer and feverishly catchy honky tonk stylings. Why didn't someone think of this sooner?" became Adkins's first Number One single on the country charts since "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing" in 1997.
The song continues to be a hit and won Trace a honor he did not expect. On February 8, 2007, he received his first Gold certification by the RIAA for master ringtone sales in excess of 500-thousand for his single "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk

Trace was a featured performer during the 2005 National Memorial Day Concert from the west lawn of the Capital building in Washington D.C. which commemorated the 60th Anniversary of Iwo Jima, honored our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and paid tribute to the work of the USO

2006 saw the release of Adkins's seventh studio album, Dangerous Man. "Swing", the album's lead-off single, peaked at #20, while the follow-up "Ladies Love Country Boys

Trace was honored by the USO with its 2007 USO Merit Award for his dedication to assisting others through his charitable work, an award presented by Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson. He has traveled into combat zones as part of a USO tour to entertain service members stationed at "Operation Enduring Freedom" Forward Operating Bases where he performed free concerts, signed autographs and mingled with the troops. Adkins also performed at the 2002 USO Gala in Washington, DC and was the headliner for the USO's first annual charity golf tournament at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia. Adkins' dedication to U.S. troops even shines through in his music

What I do in comparison to what our troops and the people who serve do--what I do is miniscule, is trivial," Adkins said. "But I was very honored and appreciative, and it was a great night, a great evening. I got to sit and have dinner with the First Lady and chairman of the joint chiefs. It was an overwhelming event.

Adkins has also lent his voice to several commercials for fast-food giant KFC, and appeared on the long-running game show The Hollywood Squares. A regular guest on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, Adkins has starred in TV commercials and in magazine ads for trucks and jeans, and has narrated music shows, home-d├ęcor programs and western documentaries, as well as a feature film about a boxer, The Dance.

Trace penned a book, "A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions of a Freethinking Roughneck" (Nov. 13 on Villard Books, an imprint of Random House Publishers), released in November 2007 which is part autobiography, part opinion. Adkins, who's known for speaking what's on his mind, says he stands for "personal responsibility and against anything that undermines it." Throughout the book, he delivers entertaining and often thought-provoking opinions on politics, fame, parenting, hard work and being true to yourself. "With me, what you see is what you get. I don't put on any airs, I don't pull punches, and most important, I don't take myself too seriously

In August 2007, Adkins released a single entitled "I Got My Game On". Originally, the song was planned to be the lead-off to a new album, tentatively titled Game On; however, Adkins decided not to release a full album, and instead released his second Greatest Hits compilation, American Man: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, for which "I Got My Game On" served as the lead-off single. The album has also produced Adkins' fastest-climbing single to date in its second single, "You're Gonna Miss This

In 2008, Adkins put his business prowess to the test by agreeing to appear as a contestant on NBC's celebrity edition of The Apprentice. Adkins was a January-March 2008 contestant in which each contestant on the show was playing for $250,000 for his or her own selected charity. Adkins was playing for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, which provides education, advocacy and research support to families dealing with the daily nightmare of serious and/or life-threatening food allergies. The musician chose the charity because his 6-year-old daughter, Brianna, suffers from life-threatening reactions to peanuts, milk and eggs. Adkins made it to the finale as one of the two finalists. Donald Trump ultimately "hired" Adkins' rival, tabloid editor Piers Morgan, who had his own charity.

As the airing of The Celebrity Apprentice came to an end, Trace’s single “You’re Gonna Miss This” climbed to number one on the country charts and stayed there for weeks and was nominated for single, song and video of the year at this month's Country Music Association Awards, where his performance of that song earned one of the night's few standing ovations.

Trace’s video for his new hit single, “You’re Gonna Miss This”, was shot in his hometown of Sarepta, Louisiana and features his alma mater. As a Sarepta High School graduate Adkins is fronting a new campaign to create a building fund for his former high school. Sarepta High was built in 1922 and is in urgent need of updates and renovations. The video encourages viewers to visit and donate money to this school in need.

He is active in historic preservation, most notably and recently with "Civil War Preservation Trust" initiatives. "My great-great-grandfather on my mother's side was in the 31st Louisiana Infantry," Trace says. "It was a company of about 100 men. They were all from the same little area up in north Louisiana, from around Homer, Haynesville, Shongaloo, Sarepta

"He was at the surrender of Vicksburg -- signed the thing saying he'd never again take up arms against the United States. He went home, waited about three months, then he enlisted again

Beverly Keel, the Tennessean
The gold-selling American Man: Greatest Hits Vol. II helped propel his worldwide album sales past 8 million, also in 2008, he filmed his second movie, the David Zucker-directed An American Carol. Adkins appeared in the film, which aired in October, as the Angel of Death

In November 2008 he released his 10th album, aptly titled X (Ten).  The first single release from the album, "Muddy Water" peaked at #22 on the Billboard Country Music Charts.  The second single release "Marry for Money" debuted in the top 50.  The album also features timeless songs such as "Sometimes a Man Takes a Drink" and humorous numbers such as and "Hillbilly Rich." A favorite of the album is the haunting "I Can't Outrun You", which Adkins does not expect to be released as a single.

In November, 12 Gauge Comics unleashes "LUKE MCBAIN," a four-issue comic book series featuring a tough Southern hero that is based on the platinum-selling country star.

Other music artists have been involved with the comic book scene including Gerald Way of My Chemical Romance and Tori Amos, but Adkins is the first country artist to be featured as a fictional character in a comic book project.

Writer David Tischman (Red Herring) created the idea with 12 Gauge publisher Keven Gardner, and they spent a lot of time with Adkins to make sure "MCBAIN" feels authentic.

The title character of Luke McBain is drawn to Adkins' likeness and reflects some of the 6'6" singer's philosophy. The story takes place when McBain returns home to rural Louisiana after serving 14 years in prison, having taken the fall for a crime he didn't commit. He finds himself in a town now controlled by greed and corruption, and he's the only one with the courage to set things right. Although the book contains some violence, it is generally suitable for all ages.

"The McBain character became kind of a reflection of Trace Adkins' entertainment persona," notes Tischman. "It breathes a real life personality into the fictional character which is something we wanted.
"I hope my albums are a reflection of real life and hopefully your life has balance where there are going to be those moments where you are sad about something. But hopefully the next day, or soon after that, there'll be a moment where you'll be happy. It's that roller coaster ride that is life."

"I still want to be relevant and be competitive in this business, so I'm not done yet. And I'm a realist," says Adkins, 46. "I'm not thought of in the same breath or thought as Alan Jackson and those guys, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Toby (Keith), George Strait. I'm not in that class; I know that. I know my place; I just have to keep on working.

"I'm the journeyman. Have you ever seen those fighters? There's a big title fight and all of a sudden one of the fighters breaks his hand and can't show up, so they call the journeyman, who takes the fight on two days' notice. He keeps himself in pretty good shape because that's his job. He fights the young fighters on the way up. He'll give them a good, solid 12 rounds. . . . He's never going to be champion of the world, but he's that mid-level journeyman fighter who beats the (heck) out of the new kids."

"I just don't really listen to anybody anymore tell me what they think ought to be on the record. I just make it how I want to and do what I want to do. I mean, I listen to everybody, but really, it's going to be what I want it to be. It's good to be in that place and have that kind of freedom."

"I know that I have to keep working if I want to remain relevant," he says. "I know my place in this business. I'm a journeyman, and just knowing that, I also have to understand that I'm going to have to work a lot and keep my nose to the grindstone.

"I can't afford not to do anything next year. I know the first couple of months I'm going to be down, but after that, I fully expect us to kick it back into high gear and rock on for about eight months."
This (career) is a hobby that got horribly out of control,” he says. “It has made my life so much better and sweeter and I’ve experienced things that I never would have had a chance to experience. If it ended today, this has been the coolest thing." Adkins said looking forward to 2009.

In August 2010, Trace towered over all the competition to claim the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Album chart. This is his first album with new label, Show-Dog-Universal . Trace also claimed the No. 5 position on the multi-genre Billboard 200 album chart. 'Cowboy's Back in Town' is Trace's 11th album. Of his eight studio albums and two greatest-hits compilations, 'Cowboy' marks the fourth time he has debuted at No. 1. He has sold in excess of 10 million albums worldwide since his career began with his 1996 debut, 'Dreamin' out Loud.'
In an intereview with The Boot before 'Cowboy' was released, Trace praised his new label and looked to the future, saying, "I just hope that we have a good launch with this record on this new record label," he says. "For the sake of Show Dog-Universal, I really want for this [album] to be a huge success. I appreciate the faith that they've had in me, and I hope that it's proven to be a good decision on both our parts. That's really what I'm hoping for this year."