Cowboy’s Back in Town

[Show Dog/Universal]

Trace Adkins’ new album begins with a punchline about the wah-wah guitar lines that once dominated porn soundtracks (“Brown Chicken Brown Cow”) and ends with a hillbilly brawl (“Whoop a Man’s Ass”). In between, the rest of this underwhelming set might make you forget the fact that Adkins, with his profound baritone, is one of modern country music’s most powerful voices. When he gets hold of a song worthy of him, you hear a man who can express tenderness (the Conway Twitty-esque “Still Love You”) and toughness (“This Ain’t No Love Song”) with equal resolve. His carefree sense of humor works, too: “Hell, I Can Do That” is a gently strutting tale of redneck fantasies. But Cowboy’s Back in Town, Adkins’ first release on fellow country star Toby Keith’s Show Dog imprint, is a disappointing effort from an artist who’s capable of much more maturity and focus than is heard here. –Blake Boldt

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