The King's Gift

Trace Adkins

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The King's Gift Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Trace Adkins has been known to show a sense of humor, so it's something of a surprise that he's so reverent on his 2013 Christmas album, The King's Gift. He's not just reverent, he's adventurous, grounding this album not in secular tunes but carols, giving these perennials surprising arrangements that alternate between American and Celtic folk. Adkins pulls in the reigning kings of Celtic folk, the Chieftains, to play on "I Saw Three Ships," while the Isaacs guest on "Oh Holy Night" with Sonya Isaacs duetting on "We Three Kings." On the American side, Kevin Costner and his daughter Lily play on a meditative "Silent Night," which slides quite easily into this sober, heartfelt celebration of the season. Adkins takes this record seriously -- so seriously he allows himself to stretch artistically, singing music that he's never attempted before, namely that heavy dose of Celtic. This may be quite different from the smooth, romantic stylings of 2013's Love Will..., but the two records combined make a serious case for Adkins' range and depth as a singer.

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