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-décor 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 http://www.sareptahigh.org/ 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."