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Adkins excited about Christmas show coming to NPAC PDF Print E-mail
Monday, October 21, 2013 12:03 AM

BY ED GEBERT

Times Bulletin Editor

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VAN WERT — Country superstar Trace Adkins is in the mood for Christmas. He has to be. He has a new album, The King’s Gift, coming out in less than two weeks with the associated tour beginning shortly thereafter. The second tour date of his Christmas tour will be at Van Wert’s Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Nov. 16.

The news release should turn a few heads. Adkins has completed a collection of Christmas music with a Celtic influence.

 

“That was the direction I wanted to go in before we had even selected the first song,” Adkins said. “I had talked to (guitarist) Michael Spriggs about doing this record about 12 or 13 years ago. Michael has played on several of my records and he’s from the Isle of Man, which is just off the coast of Ireland. He’s done some instrumental records and I talked to him years ago about a Christmas record with this vibe. He said he’d love to do it but we just never got around to doing it.”

 

However, last year the talk resurfaced and the plans were started. The result is a striking set of music featuring Adkins’ chill-inducing baritone voice with a wide array of traditional instruments. The show itself will be different as well.

Adkins revealed, “It’s more of a theatrical production than the stuff I have been doing. This is not just a straight-ahead concert, there’s going to be narration, dialogue, and there are 12 people on stage with me. It takes a pretty big ensemble to pull this stuff off live. You’ve got to have the string session and the background singers and the pipes, flutes and whistles. You’ve got to have a lot of stuff to pull this off.”

Although they will not be traveling on the tour, the record features a number of guest vocalists and musicians. Celtic greats The Chieftains are featured on “I Saw Three Ships” and legendary rock drummer Kenny Aronoff sits in for “Little Drummer Boy.” One voice you probably wouldn’t expect appears with his daughter on “Silent Night” — Kevin Costner, whose daughter, Lily, is a songwriter in Nashville.

“It was a great experience making this record. It’s exactly what I wanted it to be,” said Adkins. “From the first cut to the last cut, musically, this is the most beautiful project I’ve ever been a part of. The musicians, and the instrumentation, everything about this record… it’s something new for me and it is just one of my favorite things I’ve ever had a chance to do. So if you want to hear some great live music, forget about me; just come hear the 12-piece band!”

Song selection for the album ranges from the familiar “Away in a Manger” to the “Wexford Carol” in which the Celtic style truly comes to the fore. As for some of the tunes, Adkins admitted he wasn’t too familiar with prior to doing this project.

“I wanted it to be very traditional,” he stated. “Since we were going to use an almost ancient style of music, I wanted to match it with ancient songs. The youngest song on this record is “Little Drummer Boy” and that’s over 70 years old. The rest are at least 100 years old. There are a couple of songs that we can trace the melodies back over 1,200 years and that’s just fascinating to me, how melodies have been passed down from generation to generation over hundreds and hundreds of years, vocally.”

Another seasonal appearance will feature one of the songs from this album, although Adkins admits he is not sure which song that will be. But he and the band will play one tune for “CMA Country Christmas” which will be hosted by Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, airing on ABC on Dec. 2. Adkins will also repeat as co-host for the American Country Awards on Fox Dec. 10 with racer Danica Patrick.

“Yeah, I am getting a little more comfortable with hosting, but it’s taken a few years to get there!” he laughed.

Being a country act since before his 1995 debut album was released, Adkins has logged many miles on the road. He has played hundreds of times before screaming fans but for this tour, the show will be different and that truly excites him.

“I hope this can be an annual thing for us, I really do,” said Adkins.” I’m excited about this project and I love this music. It gets me outside my comfort zone. Doing a more theatrical, one-man-play kind of thing is something that I’ve never done before and I’m a little anxious about it. Getting outside your comfort zone, that’s how you grow, man. That’s how you stay stimulated. That’s how you stay excited about life and about music and the human condition. You’ve got to keep challenging yourself.”

Last Updated on Monday, October 21, 2013 12:13 AM
 

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