A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
‘Shine All Night Tour’ to illuminate city
Trace Adkins, Martina McBride bringing show to Ford Center
Trace Adkins has reached the point in his career where having fun takes priority when it comes to accepting new projects.
Lately, fun opportunities have been lighting up the country music superstar’s life: He starred with his family and real-life soldiers in one music video and rocked with Oklahoma country artist Blake Shelton in another. His Southern attitude and large likeness were turned into a comic book character. And he recently embarked on the co-headlining “Shine All Night Tour” with fellow singing sensation Martina McBride.
The tour will illuminate Oklahoma City’s Ford Center Saturday night. Adkins, a big-voiced baritone towering 6-foot-6-inches tall, and McBride, a 5-foot-2-inch-tall powerhouse soprano, make an intriguing touring team, although they’re not exactly sure how they were matched.
“You know, managers talk to one another and come up with plans and ideas. And then they tell us, and we go, ‘Yeah, that’s a good idea. Let’s do that,’” Adkins said in a phone interview while driving to his Brentwood, Tenn., home.
“I think we have a great deal of respect for one another. I can sing lower than she can, so I got that going for me,” Adkins said in a phone interview while driving to his Brentwood, Tenn., home.
Both singers have singular voices and successful careers dating back to the 1990s. Fans can expect each star to perform a full set of hits against a dynamic production.
“She’s a cool lady, and you know, you’re not gonna find a better singer in this business. There’s not one. So, it’s a treat just to get to hear her sing every night. It’s pretty amazing,” Adkins said.
“Martina, she’s Mom. We go out on the weekends and she’s got her kids with her and it’s a whole family deal out there. So, it’s a lot different from touring with Toby (Keith) this summer and then going out with Martina. It’s a little different vibe.”
Although Adkins has his share of awards, platinum albums and No. 1 hits with “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,” “Ladies Love Country Boys” and “You’re Gonna Miss This,” he has taken the opening slot on the co-headlining tour.
“Martina’s been around. She deserves that; she’s earned that. She’s a big star, man. You know, won female vocalist of the year I don’t know how many times. She’s a big deal, so I don’t have a problem at all going out in front of her.”
Adkins, 47, got to show his family side while making the heartfelt video to his latest hit “All I Ask for Anymore.” The video depicts a military homecoming and features his wife, five daughters, granddaughter and son-in-law, along with members of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division and their families.
“Given the subject of the song, I just thought that was appropriate,” he said. “I don’t know how many videos I’ve done, but this day, having all those members of the 101st Airborne and their families there, and my family was there, and we just all spent the day hanging out together. It was just one of the most pleasurable videos that I’ve ever done. It was a very cool experience.”
The song represents the his latest tribute to the troops. Adkins sang his powerful “Til the Last Shot’s Fired” with West Point Glee Club at the April 5 Academy of Country Music Awards and performed song again to close the National Memorial Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol. He made a United Service Organization tour last year to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s just an important issue. There aren’t many more important. We need to support those men and women because they’re on the front lines and protecting us and our freedoms and our way of life. They should be paid the respect that they’re due. And I try to make sure that I do my part and make sure that I do that and remind people to do that.”
The Louisiana native notched another memorable music video experience when he and Shelton put together the uproarious featurette for their duet “Hillbilly Bone.” The raucous country pride theme, available digitally Dec. 22, will be the title track of Shelton’s upcoming record, due out next year.
“Blake’s one of my favorite people in this business. Any time I get to work with him, hang out with him, we always enjoy that and have a lot of fun with it,” Adkins said, adding, “The funniest stuff was cut out, really.”
Adkins, who also plans to release a new album in 2010, ventured into new territory when he became Southern hero Luke McBain for a four-part comic book series. “Luke McBain #1” was released last month through 12 Gauge Comics; copies of the premiere issue are on sale at Adkins’ shows.
The singer, who doesn’t consider himself a comics fan, said the character developed out of a meeting he took with writer David Tischman and publisher Keven Gardner.
“I thought it was flattering, and they ran a couple of scenarios by me and they wanted to get reactions from me, what would I say and do in those situations. And then a couple of months ago, I get a comic book in the mail. I mean, I had pretty much just forgotten about it, you know,” he said with a laugh. “It’s flattering and it’s a little embarrassing, but it’s fun.”
Fun has taken precedence for the country star since an inspiring conversation with Tulsa comedian Rodney Carrington, his co-star in the hilarious 2007 music video “I Got My Game On.” The comic has reached a place in his career where the only question he asks when presented a new opportunity is “Does it sound like it’ll be fun?”
“It’s not how ‘much money am I gonna make,’ or ‘how much time’s gonna be involved’ or ‘where do I have to go?’ The only question that you need to ask is ‘does it sound like it’s gonna be fun?’ And if the answer to that question is yes, then go do it,” Adkins said.
“Shine All Night Tour” starring Martina McBride and Trace Adkins
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Ford Center, 100 W Reno.
Information: (800) 745-3000 or www.okfordcenter.com.