Cars and country music

Trace Adkins to present awards and sing at Triple B Arena

Trace Adkins to present awards and sing at Triple B Arena

August 07, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

Last June on the legendary stage of the Grand Ole Opry, Trace Adkins was invited to become a member of that venerable country music institution.

His formal induction will be Wednesday, Aug. 23.

Before that - on Sunday, Aug. 10 - Adkins will perform at Triple B Arena in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The concert begins at 6 p.m.

There will be a show of antique cars, including street rods, and Adkins will be there to present the awards, says Jeannie Ford of Triple B.


That's appropriate for a man who had a NASCAR race named for his latest hit album. The "Trace Adkins Chrome 300 Busch Series" was held Saturday, June 7, at Nashville's Superspeedway. Adkins says he's a NASCAR fan and enjoys watching the races.

What does he drive?

A three-quarter-ton GMC pickup, with four-wheel drive, of course.

"It's a truuuck," Adkins growls in his deep baritone drawl.

The 6-foot-6 Adkins played The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown just last fall, sharing the "Big Men of Country" bill with the equally tall Darrel Worley. Adkins had fun with that tour as well, saying his manager came up with the idea of teaming the towering pair, playing off the expression "size does matter."

"We thought it was funny," he says.

Adkins' latest release is his "Greatest Hits Collection, Volume I."

When the album was proposed, it didn't seem to Adkins like he had enough material. But seeing a list of his music put down on paper, he realized it was there.

"It just snuck up on me," he says.

The collection includes two new songs - his current single, "Then They Do," explores the emotions of parents watching their children grow. The father of four daughters ages 2 to 18, didn't write the song, but he related to it.

When he does write songs, the lyrics always come first.

Other composers send him hundreds of songs to review.

"That's me," he says when he recognizes a song he wants to record. It's often a case of him slapping his head, asking "Why didn't I write that?"

The other new tune on the hits collection is titled "Welcome to Hell," described as offering the devil's tongue-in-cheek hospitality to the Sept. 11 terrorists.

Adkins promises his Berkeley Springs performance will include the hits he's known for, as well as some of his "newer stuff."

His life reads like the lyrics of a country song. The 41-year-old Nashville, Tenn., resident grew up in Louisiana, son of a factory worker and a schoolteacher. He was playing guitar before he was a teenager, and at 17 became the bass singer for a gospel group. The boy grew to his height with a weight of 240 pounds and played tackle and linebacker in high school and college football. He did a stint as a roughneck on an offshore oil rig, and in 1985 his fellow workers heard him playing and singing and connected him with a Louisiana band. He was "stomped and stabbed" in brawls in the dives they played.

His marriage to his high school sweetheart ended, and, in 1989, so did Adkins' romance with country music.

But he took up the dream again three years later, this time in Nashville, Tenn. His second marriage ended in 1994 with a bullet through his lungs and heart - fired by his wife on their last day together.

Still, Adkins returned to singing, scoring hits by 1996. The Academy of Country Music named him Top New Male Vocalist of 1997, an award repeated by Country Weekly magazine and the 1998 TNN/Music City News Awards.

His first two albums went gold and platinum, and he's working on the next installment of Greatest Hits.

The big man has done blue jeans advertisements, his voice has been heard doing more than singing on TV commercials for trucks. He provided the voice of "Big John the Trucker" on the animated TV show "King of the Hill." He's narrated music shows, western documentaries and Home and Garden Television's "Homes On The Range."


"I'd like to get into that stuff," Adkins says. "We knock a little, but that door hasn't swung open yet."

Meanwhile, the Triple B Arena gates will swing wide for him and the crowd he's expected to draw at noon Sunday.

If you go...

Trace Adkins

6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10

Triple B Arena

203 Barbecue Drive, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

Tickets cost $20, plus service charge, and are available at Valley Mall in Hagertown, Chambersburg Mall in Chambersburg, Pa., and locations in Berkeley Springs and the Winchester, Va., area.

Tickets for preferred seating cost $26.50.

For information or tickets, call 1-304-258-4178.

Food and drink will be available.

Directions to Triple B Arena: Take Interstate 70 west to second Hancock exit, to U.S. 522 south to Berkeley Springs, W.Va. Take right on W.Va. 9 at first traffic light. Go up hill past castle. There's a Triple B billboard on the left at the turn. Turn right on Sir Johns Run Road. Turn right on Barbecue Drive. Follow signs for Triple B Arena and Bob's Big Beef.

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