Under the Radar

Longtime Military Supporter & Country Music Star Trace Adkins Plays the Bad Guy in 'Hickok'

Trace Adkins has enjoyed a long and successful career as a Grammy-winning country singer, an actor (The Lincoln Lawyer, Deepwater Horizon), a Celebrity Apprentice winner and as one of the most popular performers on 10 USO tours.

He's just released a new album (Something's Going On), he's on tour all summer and fall and gets to play the bad guy in the new western Hickok, which opens in theaters July 7th and will also be available the same day via On Demand and Digital HD.

In the movie, Luke Hemsworth plays "Wild Bill" Hickok, tasked with cleaning up the corrupt western town of Abilene, KS by Mayor George Knox (Kris Kristofferson). Adkins plays saloon owner Phil Poe and he recruits John Wesley Harding (Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau) to take out Hickok. We've got a clip of the scene below and Trace Adkins took the time to speak with us about his career and the movie.

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You seem to be making a lot of westerns lately. What's attracting you to that kind of movie?

Well, I just enjoy westerns. I grew up watching 'em and my father was a huge fan of westerns. He was a cowboy and that’s just kind of something that I grew up with. Having an opportunity to actually do 'em, it's as much fun as you think it would be. When you're a kid watching them and you think it'd be fun to do that, it is a lot of fun.

How was your part in Hickok different for you?

Well, he's a pretty bad guy. He really doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. So that seemed to be a little different from anything I've done before.

You're a guy who has had a long enough music career to experience how things have really changed. You recently released your new album Something’s Going On. How is it different for you to connect with your fans, based on how it was back in the 90's, when it was all about the radio?

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"Watered Down" from Trace's new album

The thing that we hold onto is they can download everything else, but they can't download me. We still go out and sell tickets and people want to come because the only thing they can't download is that personal experience, that live performance. That’s what I enjoy about this business and that’s never gonna change.

It seems like chart numbers are no longer the way musicians measure their success. How do you keep score?

Well, I'm just proud to be here. And the way I keep score: Did I have to fill out a job application this year? If the answer to that question is no, everything is okay.

You’ve been a big supporter of the men and women who serve in the military. You had a guest appearance on The Night Shift a couple of years ago and you have a long-running relationship with the USO. What inspired you to get involved with military causes?

I still can't recall how it actually happened, but I got involved doing USO things. I think the first USO tour that I did was way back in 2003. After that, I was hooked. I wanted to keep doing this because it's the most appreciative audience that you'll ever play for. As an entertainer, that's as good as it gets. That’s a big deal.

I've often said that if you have a chance to rub shoulders with heroes, you should do that because you're gonna benefit from it. Maybe some of it will rub off on you. It's gonna be a good thing, so just do it.

Back when you were winning The Apprentice, did it ever cross your mind that your boss on the show was gonna be President of the United States?

No way. I never thought he'd run. People asked me when he was toying with the idea of running, I was just, he ain't gonna run. He's not gonna do it. So I've been wrong about this from the very beginning.

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