The King's Gift
American country music has part of its roots in a Celtic tradition that’s welcomed here by Trace Adkins, who pays tribute to his Scottish lineage on his first album of seasonal reflection, 2013’s The King’s Gift. Accompanied by the usual musical instrument suspects (acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, bass, and drums) but with the addition of uilleann pipe, penny whistle, Weissenborn, mandolin, violin, viola, cello, and harp, Adkins explores the sounds of ancient times and tradition. He’s joined on individual tracks by legendary traditional Irish ensemble The Chieftains, Scottish vocalist Alyth McCormack, the award-winning family group The Isaacs, Kevin Costner and his daughter Lily Kostner, and rock drummer Kenny Aronoff (known for his work with John Mellencamp). Whether it’s the relatively obscure “Wexford Carol” or the commonly known “Away in a Manger,” “Silent Night,” or “Little Drummer Boy,” Adkins sings them sincerely, without emphasizing his country twang for country music’s sake. “What Child Is This” (also known as "Greensleeves") closes the set with a solemnity worthy of the care put forth in this collection.