Dreamin' Out Loud
In 1996, Trace Adkins had yet to develop the brash, throaty voice that would become a trademark later in his career, but his debut album contains its own sense of craftsmanship and understated charm. Dreamin’ Out Loud features several clever songs from a host of veteran Nashville songwriters, including Kent Robbins (“Every Light in the House”), Tim Nichols (“(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing”) and Craig Wiseman and Trey Bruce (“It Was You”). The straight-shooting, heartfelt appeal on “There’s a Girl in Texas” and “If I Fall (You’re Goin’ With Me)” suggests Adkins had a bright future in Nashville, but it is his good taste and sincerity that were valuable above all else. “634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)” is a cover of a Memphis soul anthem from the ‘60s, and proof that Nashville and R&B should cross paths more often. While the song shows Adkins has good taste in material, “Dreamin’ Out Loud” is its own kind of soul music, as Adkins shows it's possible to be strong and vulnerable in the same moment.