Born Trace Darrell Adkins on January 13, 1962, in Springhill, LA; son of a paper mill worker and a high school teacher; married three times; third wife, Rhonda Forlaw; two daughters from first marriage. Addresses: Record company--Capitol Records Nashville, Nashville, TN.

Trace Adkins--a towering six-foot, six-inch, 250-pound baritone vocalist--climbed to the top of the country music scene in 1997, earning his first number-one single for the song "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing," seeing his album Dreamin' Out Loud reach platinum status, and winning his first award from the Academy of Country Music as Top New Male Vocalist. Like many other country artists, Adkins, too, has seen his share of hard times--and then some . Surviving a number of calamities ranging from car accidents to a gunshot wound and working for nearly a decade on offshore oil rigs while mounting every stage he could with the hopes of attracting the attention of Nashville, Adkins is a multi-dimensiona l, honest songwriter who couldn't hide his ruggedness even if he wanted to. "I grew up in the oilfield, and that's who I am and what I am," he explained for his official website, commenting about the subject matter of the album More..., released in 1999. "I'm a Southern gentleman--polite, hospitable, and respectful--but I'm not going to try to be squeaky clean. I'm not that kind of person. I'm a roughneck, and I won't try to hide it."

The son of a paper mill worker, Trace Darrell Adkins was born on January 13, 1962, in Springhill, Louisiana, and grew up in the nearby town of Sarepta. As a youth, Adkins worked selling the national rural newspaper Grit an d hauling hay, and during his teen years began singing in a gospel quartet called New Commitment. The group recorded two albums for an independent label: The New Commitment Quartet, released in 1979, and The Best of the New Commitment Quartet, released in 1980. Upon graduating from high school, Adkins played defensive end for the football team at Louisiana Tech University, where he studied for a degree in petroleum technology. However, after two years of college, a knee injury ended his chances of a career in sports. Thus, he dropped out of school, spending the next eight years or so working in the oil industry as a derrick man and pipe fitter. Around the same time, Adkins married his high school sweet heart, with whom he had two daughters, but the union ended four years later.

Meanwhile, Adkins continued to dream of becoming a musician, performing at local venues whenever possible and joining a band call Bayou. That group eventually won a regional talent contest and competed in the national finals in Nashville, Tennessee. After this success, Adkins spent four years touring with Bayou in cities in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Mississippi, but soon grew disillusioned with the music business and returned to the drilling rigs. Nonetheless, he asked doctors to set an inju red pinky finger--that had to be sewn back on following an industrial accident--in a permanent bend so he could still play the guitar.

In addition to this work-related injury, Adkins, who also had to have his nose re-attached when it was torn off in an automobile crash, was run over by a bulldozer and almost lost his legs, and had a 400-barrel oil tank explode while he was repairin g it. More recently, in 1999, he broke his ankle after he stepped into a hole on his farm in rural Tennessee near Nashville, resulting in months of recuperation time. Then one year later, Adkins seriously injured the middle and index fingers of his left h and during an accident on his property. While using a front-end loader and trailer to move some rocks in order to solve an erosion problem at the farm, he dislodged a 400-pound boulder that rolled over his hand. Both fingers were crushed. Recovering at ho me, he said of the incident for a press release: "Well, it's been a solid year since I paid my last visit to the hospital, and I was missing all my friends in the emergency room." Luckily, Adkins received a good prognosis after surgery and made a full recovery in less than two months.

His greatest flirtation with death, however, occurred one February night in 1994 when Adkins and his second wife of three years, Julie Curtis, got into an argument over his beer drinking. A shoving match ensued, and Curtis tried to call her mother, prompting Adkins to knock the phone from her hand. Subsequently, Curtis grabbed the family's .38 pistol. "Being a macho guy like I am, I tried to scare it out of her hand," he recalled to Samantha Miller of People. dquo;I said, 'Give me the gun, or I'm gonna take it away from you...." Despite the threat, Curtis reacted by firing the gun. "[The bullet] went through both my lungs and both ventricles of my heart," added Adkins, whose torso is covered i n scars from the event.

After recovering from several surgeries to repair his heart and lungs and divorcing Curtis (Adkins declined pressing charges and the police ruled the shooting accidental), his luck, in terms of his musical career began to change. Previously, back in 1992, Adkins had relocated to Nashville in order to dedicate himself full-time to music. Here, he met Capitol Records Nashville president Scott Hendricks, who picked up Adkins as his first signing to the label after hearing the country singer perform at Tillie's, a Mount Juliet bar.

In November of 1996, Adkins released his debut album for Capitol Nashville. Produced by Hendricks, Dreamin' Out Loud proved a major success, eventually going certified platinum the following year. Adkins' first single , "There's a Girl in Texas," soared into the top 20 of the Billboard country chart, while the follow-up single, "Every Light In the House Is On," peaked at number three. Finally, the smash singles "(This A in't) No Thinkin' Thing" and "I Left Something Turned On at Home" both topped the charts at number one in 1997. And in April, Adkins earned an Academy of Country Music Award for Top New Male Vocalist. Other accolades included a Country Weekly nod for Favorite Male Newcomer in 1997 and the TNN/Music City News Male Star of Tomorrow in 1998, as well as nominations for the Country Music Association's Horizon Award and for Best New Artist by the Country Music Radio Aw ards.

By now acknowledged as one of country music's hottest newcomers, he received comparisons to the likes of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, with the legendary Buck Owens describing Adkins as "a cool breeze on the music horizon ... with a ll the makings of a star," as quoted by Miller. Adkins' sophomore collection, 1997's Big Time, cemented the rising star's reputation. Easily going certified gold in 1998, the album spawned additional hits, includi ng the ballad "Rest of Mine," a song Adkins wrote and sang at his May 1997 wedding to third wife Rhonda Forlaw. It peaked at number two on the country charts in December of that year.

In November of 1999, Adkins released his highly anticipated third album, More..., which Adkins himself described as "a little edgier," as quoted on his website, than his first two offerings. "I think there 's a little rawness to it," he said. "This one is medium-rare. And that's exactly what I wanted. I'm gonna open myself up and let people see what I'm about. This is who I am." Along with hits like "Don't Lie," More... included songs such as "Working Man's Wage," a tribute to blue-collar parents, "The Night He Can't Remember," a pivotal night in the life of a man with an alcohol problem, and "Every Other Friday at Five," a heartbreaking account of a divorced father.

Remaining in the limelight, Adkins in the May 30, 2000, issue of Country Weekly was listed as one of the Top 25 Sexiest Country Stars, and on August 2, 2000, made his acting debut on the TNN original series 18 Wheels of Justice. He also began to seek recognition outside the country music scene, appearing on the Saturday Early Show on the CBS television network on September 9 of that year. Later that month, the Nashville Music Awards nominated Adkins, a continued local favorite, for Male Vocalist of the Year. Throughout Adkins' career, touring has remained important. Surprisingly, he never perceived a loaded tour schedule as an extreme hardship. Rather, he always en joyed performing for and meeting with his fans. As he explained, "Performing live is something I absolutely live for."

by Laura Hightower

Trace Adkins's Career

Moved to Nashville, TN, to pursue music full time, 1992; signed with Capitol Records Nashville, released debut platinum-selling album Dreamin' Out Loud, 1996; had first number-one hit with "(This Ains;t) No Thinkin' Thing," 1997; released gold album Big Time, 1997; released More..., 1999.

Trace Adkins's Awards

Academy of Country Music Award, Top New Male Vocalist, 1997; Country Weekly Award, Favorite Male Newcomer, 1997; TNN/Music City News Male Star of Tomorrow, 1998.

Famous Works

Recent Updates

August 23, 2003: Adkins was inducted into the Grand Ol' Opry. Source: Launch,, August 28, 2003.

December 2, 2003: Adkins' album, Comin' on Strong, was released. Source:,, December 5, 2003.

December 3, 2004: Adkins and his wife, Rhonda, welcomed the birth of their daughter, Trinity Lee. The couple also have two other daughters and Adkins has two daughters from a previous marriage. Source: People, December 20, 2004, p. 107.

Further Reading



Visitor Comments Add a comment…

over 12 years ago

I forgot to say that I was in the movie Square Dance in the eighties too. I was in the bar scene standing at the bar with a purple shirt on and then my friends Susan and Lee Ann were sitting with me at a table in the bar scene too. I still have the 45 record of Bayou with Tracy singing Bayou Sunrise. Piece of Heaven is the song on the flip side of the record. I would love to go to see Tracey at The Texas Motor Speedway in November; my oldest daughter will be 20 on November 5th, 2011.

over 12 years ago

I met Tracey and Bayou in Dallas at a Belle Starr in around 1985-86. They were filming a movie south of Dallas called Square Dance. I asked the band if they would be interested in a movie to perform songs. The movie people and the band got togather so Bayou (Tracy and other band members)did perform some songs like Bayou Sunrise for the movie. We became friends back during the Bayou Days. Nice to go back to the Bayou Days. Mellisa

about 14 years ago

Back in the early 90's, my girlfriend and I used to go boot scootin' at the Rodeo Exchange on the north side of Ft. Worth. This was a great country/western dance bar. The live bands were always great, but, one in particular stood out.....Bayou. Weren't you the lead singer in that band? Great band. We enjoyed every time you guys played there. We have been fans of yours ever since. Keep crankin' out the good stuff. Best of luck to you.

over 14 years ago

Just got home from your concert with Toby Keith at the Midwest Amphitheater in Tinley Park Illinois on 9/19/09.. The concert was GREAT had a good time. Thank you for being there.

over 14 years ago

Trace just saw you in concert at Superpages in Dallas[August 1st.2009] It was for my birthday. Your show was great. Thanks for being down to earth and making my birthday one I will always remember.

over 14 years ago

I wanted to let you know that you were a birthday gift to me from my sons. They surprised me with 2 tickets to attend your concert on 4-3-09 at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, CA. because they know how much I just love your music and you as a person over all. I always told them, there's your new daddy, and they would just get a kick out of that. I was lucky enough to win backstage passes to meet you in person. I was so in awe that I couldn't even speak. I think I managed to ask you to sign my book and to give you the gifts I had made for you and one for Rhonda, but I really can't remember. Well I just hope you both liked your gifts. Well Trace, I wish you continued success in your career and pray that you are around for many, many years to come. Can't wait to see you in concert again. Blessings to you, Rhonda and the rest of the little ladies in your life.

almost 15 years ago

I need to start by saying how much I dislike modern country music. Classic country, I like. Having seen you on the Celebrity Apprentice and liking the way you handled yourself, I started listening to your music. It is awesome. Little did I know that the song my granddaughter used to sing when she was 2 and 3 years old is a Trace Atkins song. It is Honky Tonk Badonkadonk. You're Gonna Miss This is also a favorite of mine. My freind, who loves modern country music, is going to take me to a concert when you come to Illinois. Can't wait!!!!!!!

almost 15 years ago

I have always loved your music and admired you as a person, however I really stopped and took notice when you were on Celebrity Apprentice. I have a five year old daughter, Kaylyn, who has severe allergies and asthma and I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you did to raise money and awareness for a condition that rarely gets media attention. Your music touches my heart and knowing that you are such a genuinly humble man makes you that much more likable. Keep up the great work both on and off stage!! Kristine Long "another FAAN parent"

almost 15 years ago

How are you doing ,I read you have a sister with Cerebral Palsy .I hope she is doin well and I would like to ask you a favor would you consider doing a show to help differently abled musician become noticed. And spread the word to agents ,Promoters and Gov. to provide program grants for those of us who have talent but arent in the mainstream?

about 15 years ago

You are a fantastic entertainer! My husband, (who is a natural born yankee) and never listened to country music prior to marrying this Georgia gal...watched the country music awards on April 5th with me. We think you are one of the best,and hope you will be singing for many years to come. Hope to see you come to Jacksonville in the very near future. We'll be there! Steve & Christine Jay St. Mary's Georgia

about 15 years ago

In the 1990's my oldest daughter and I were able to go and see you at a place called the Branding Iron in San Bernardino Ca. You were great. We love your music but since then we have not been able to attend a show and now March 2009 you are playing so very close and couldn't afford tickets and could not win them. Sure would like to find a way to go again. Tracey

about 15 years ago

You're one of the ABSOLUTE GREATEST MALE artists in country music. I have a younger sister who has cerebral palsy and thanks to me listening to you all the time she thinks that your music is the best too! I have all of your CDs and all of your music DVDs and your movies too! We live in Cheyenne, Wyoming and she would love to be able to go to a concert of yours next time you come here for Frontier Days. I also have a disability, however mine is not as severe as her's. I have epilepsy do to a brain injury because I was in a car accident when I was 14. But I think your music is absolutely the best and very special. The song "Arlington" is one of my favorite my great uncles both served in the service but neither one of them was killed. But I have been to the cemetary and seen all the graves and everytime that I hear that song it brings tears to my eyes. I just want you to know that I think you are one of the best artists now and I don't think anyone could ever replace you!

over 15 years ago

I LOVE your music. My two step-daughters and I try to catch your local concerts and make it a special girls night out. I now have a 4 year old daughter who sings to your music and has her special favorite songs. If we are in a store and the music is piped in, she will get all excited and say MOM it's Trace Napkins and start singing to your music. I hope to take her to a special concert and make it an annual mother daughter event. Waiting for your return to Michigan.

over 15 years ago

Wow. My boyfriend always plays your music in the car. and i never really liked country. But you changed it all.. Good job. You have a great voice!!!!!!!

almost 16 years ago

My daughter Jaime and I went to your concert at The Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY. It was wonderful. I love the way you brought out what is important to you, especially family. The songs were all my favorites!! Thanks for a great concert!!

about 16 years ago

Thank You For Being Real.You are Just A Country Boy At Heart.All Of Your fans Know That You Were Raised Well Mannered.Thank You For Making Me A True Trace Adkins Fan.I Wasn't Always A Country Listener.