I've lived in Flagstaff, AZ, since 2003, where I'm an active member of the Coconino County Sheriff's Search & Rescue team and an avid hiker.
From Nashville To Phoenix: The Plane Ride I'll Never Forget
"Trace ... Adkins ... is ... sitting ... behind you," my husband whispered, accentuating each word. We were at our gate in the Nashville Airport, waiting to board the plane back to Arizona.
I looked at Steve and scowled. "Bull!" I replied, not at all in a whisper. "Trace Adkins is NOT sitting behind me."
Steve knew Trace was my favorite -- that I had a not-so-secret crush on the 6-foot-6, long-haired, hard-bodied, deep-voiced singer. Not nice to mess with me like that.
And then I saw a few of the guys seated across the way, facing us and looking at me, start to snicker.
I looked at Steve, and he nodded. Then my face got hotter 'n' Death Valley at high noon in June!
Face To Face With Trace
That was May, 2008. Steve and I were returning from a 10-day trip to Nashville, where I'd run the annual Country Music Marathon and then hobbled around for the rest of our vacation while we explored the area. (Ooh, the chafing! But that's beside the point...)
So, anyhow, we'd gotten to the airport a few hours ahead of our flight home and figured we'd have something to eat and people-watch while we waited. Another couple who'd been staying at the same B&B had mentioned seeing Alison Krauss at the airport, so we figured we'd see if we could spot someone famous, too.
Well, we sat there for another hour after finishing our burgers and scoped out everyone who passed by. A few times, one of us said, "Hey, doesn't that look like somebody?" Then we'd stare a little longer and decide, "Nah, it's not. Unless maybe it's a soap opera actor."
So we finally gave up and decided to head to our gate, which was at the very end of a concourse. Figured, so much for seeing a celeb. But that's okay, we said. We aren't the type to get all ga-ga about famous people, anyway.
Except ... well, maybe ONE. And, lo and behold, he happened to be sitting right behind us and waiting for the same plane.
And the guys sitting facing us in the next row of chairs -- they turned out to be Trace Adkin's band members and crew. When Steve and I had first seen them, I'd said to my husband, "Hey, they kinda look like a band. But they look like an 80s band to me." Oops. (I told them that later on, and they thought it was pretty funny. And the one with the long hair who I thought was probably the aging lead singer? A roadie.)
Anyhow, when I'd realized Steve wasn't pulling my leg, all the blood had rushed to my face. Then I heard a cell phone ring behind me and a deep voice quietly answered, "Hellooooo." (You read that with a deep voice, right?) Then I held my breath as I sloooooowly turned my head and made eye contact with the man himself. But just for a second before I turned back, not wanting to, like, stare or anything. But a second was long enough to size things up.
Trace was going incognito, in his gym pants, white tee-shirt, white golf cap and (big!) sneakers. And, when he got up to go buy a magazine or something, I gasped, "Oh, my god, his ponytail is a fake!"
"No, no," Steve said, patting my arm, "it's just tucked up under his hat."
Ooohhhh ... phew!
New Friends and Lots Of Great Concerts
Trace puts his all into his shows.
So long story short (sorta), Steve and I ended up being the last ones to board. On Southwest Airlines, there's no assigned seating and no first class, so we had to choose from what was left. And what was left were only three seats. And ONE of those seats was right next to Trace, who was on the aisle.
Well, it just so happened that I had to stand there, my leg hair touching his arm hair--I swear!--while I waited for somebody in front of me in the aisle to put their bag in the overhead compartment. Meanwhile, Steve is poking me in the back, whispering, "Sit there. Sit there."
Uh, yeah, like no way! I couldn't hold my breath for the next three and a half hours to Phoenix. I just couldn't sit there!
Turns out, we ended up sitting with the band instead. And we yacked with the band leader--Greg, the bass player (the guy in the pinkish shirt in the above photo)--for nearly the entire flight. Not that we talked about Trace (as I watched him from my own aisle seat near the rear of the plane). Actually, we ended up talking about books and all sorts of topics, both philosophical and light-hearted, and really hit it off.
To get to the point here, our new friend gave us his contact information and an open invitation to all Trace concerts from there on out. And, with a little encouragement, we ended up taking him up on it. Several shows later--so far--and some hanging out after the encores, plus a bit of long-distance correspondence, we've gotten to know this great guy (the bass player, I'm talking about) and feel like we've made a real friend.
Truth be told, when we now go to the shows, we look forward to seeing our friend and acquaintances in the band as much as their boss, the big man out front.
The Meet-n-Greet With Trace Adkins
That I botched!
Do I have a photo of my own? No, I didn't bring a camera. (I didn't want to seem, you know, like a ga-ga fan, even though I am one.)
Do I have Trace's autograph? No, I didn't bring in anything to sign.
And what did I say when, last in line, it was finally our turn to do the meeting?
"Oh, heyyyy, you're the guy who sings for Greg's [the bass player's] band!" (That was an attempt at a joke.)
And Trace replied, "Uh ... oh. Yeah."
So I said, "We met him on the plane from Nashville to Phoenix."
And Trace replied, "Uh ... oh."
Then Trace started to put his arm around my shoulder and my husband's on the other side for the photo op. His manager was taking all the pictures with people's cameras. (That was the rule.)
So I said, "Oh, we don't actually have a camera."
And Trace replied, "Uh ... oh."
Then Steve went to shake his hand, but Trace had already taken out his pen and was holding it.
So I said, "Oh, we don't have anything for you to autograph."
To which Trace replied, "Oh ... uh ... enjoy the show."
Sheee-ooot! I'm such a dork. Later on, I told our buddy in the band to tell Trace that we really are cool.
So, Have You Heard Him Sing? - Even if you don't like country music, take a listen....
I guarantee this is great singin'.
This video was shot in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 5th, 2009. Here, Trace Adkins sings "Till the Last Shot's Fired" with the West Point Cadet Glee Club.
What do you think?
Some Of Trace Adkins' Best Music
Trace Adkins Can Sing AND Write
Trace performs at the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C. **sighhhh**
You're Gonna Miss This - One of the biggest hits of his career (so far)
This song, which was #1 on the Country Music charts for three consecutive weeks, was nominated for two Grammys and two CMA awards, and took home an ACM trophy.
Trace Adkins Supports FAAN
The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network
In 2008, Trace Adkins was a finalist on Donald Trump's television show, The Apprentice, where he raised money for his charity, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, whose mission is to "raise public awareness, to provide advocacy and education, and to advance research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis."
In 2009, he was named FAAN's National Honorary Chair for their Walk For Food Allergy: Moving Toward A Cure.
© 2009 Deb Kingsbury
Whether You're a Fan or Not, Please sign my guestbook.
Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on July 01, 2016:
What an awesome story!! As a fan of Trace Adkins I enjoyed your story. I also was trying to imagine him sitting comfortably in a Southwest Airlines seat. Must have been a tight squeeze. I was just at Nashville airport 3 days ago for over 3 hours and I didn't see any famous people, but I sure did look! :)
MomNeel on February 11, 2014:
The picture taken on the USS Abraham Lincoln was taken by my son, Photographers Mate Stephen Neel. It's to bad he doesn't get the credit for it. The story is: Stephen took the picture of Trace during his performance and ran down to develop it. Stephen had several copies in hand when Trace sat down to sign autographs. When my son walked up to him and asked him to sign the pictures Trace was impressed. Asked if he could have the picture and put it on his website for some time. And Trace did give credit to my son. I hope this story gets around to give my son credit for his photography. He's a wonderful photographer. And to attest to the kindness of a good man, Trace Adkins.
Scott A McCray on June 10, 2013:
That's a cool story - you ga-ga fan, you!
anonymous on April 12, 2013:
I am a huge Trace fan...I do all the photography for the local county fair and will be meeting Trace this summer...hope I don't have an embarasing experience! Mine will not be a brief meeting so will have plenty of time to acomplish this task...lol
anonymous on March 16, 2012:
Oh, I love to hear Trace Adkins singing.
Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on December 22, 2011:
We love watching Trace Adjubs preform (only seen him on TV). I love his deep voice :) He is a man of integrity too, I love that!
Trot-on on October 15, 2011:
Trace Adkins is one of my main men, always in my ute (on my sterio of course haha). Love him to bits, love this lense too
anonymous on August 05, 2011:
Absolutely adore the man! I had the opportunity to meet him at his fan club party back in June. Fabulous! And I did have my camera!!! :)
Lee Williams from North Carolina on June 23, 2011:
I ADORE Trace!
manfield3 on June 23, 2011:
Love him! Awesome Lens!
VarietyWriter2 on February 19, 2011:
Trace Rocks! Blessed by a SquidAngel :)
GrowWear on September 14, 2010:
Uh....Oh. LOL I can hear him saying that. Did you see him on The Apprentice? I think Ivanka had a crush on the big...manly....manly...all manly man, Trace Adkins. :) Whew! And he can sing, too. :D
missbat on September 12, 2010:
It's always a treat when you meet someone you admire.
rootadesigns lm on September 10, 2010:
Trace - you're the man!
anonymous on July 28, 2010:
would love to see him in concert but I'am afraid i would make a fool of myself.My friends have been country music fans.I never was In tell i seen traces video all the lights. Now Iam hooked! can't get enough pictures, stories or music, from or about this man.
anonymous on July 02, 2010:
@anonymous: That's great! Those guys in the band are the nicest people. I've only spoken to Paul a couple of times, but he was always so friendly. And, you know, as big of a fan of Trace's that I am, I go to the shows now as much to see Greg and the other band members as I do the big man they play for. Anyhow, I hope you get to see them again soon. It looks like I'll be seeing them in August in Phoenix, when they play with Toby Kieth. If I talk to Paul, I will mention you! :)
anonymous on July 02, 2010:
I proably would do the same thing you did on the airplane. Not sit by him. I love to listen to his music and love to look at his picture. I have been to a couple of his concert with Toby Keith whom I also love. I really enjoyed your story. I know I would be so tongue tied that I wouldn't or couldn't speak. If I did say something it would sound so stupid. Thanks for the story and enjoy the concerts and you will get to talk to Trace at one of the concerts when you least expect.
anonymous on July 02, 2010:
Two years in a row I had the great fortune of meeting Trace's fiddle player, Paul at the York Fair in PA. What a great time that was! He came right over two us before the show started and just hung out. He was the perfect gentleman as we asked him about his wife and children and how he swings traveling and family life. He talked with us after the show as well. I was afraid to mention Trace for fear that Paul would feel I would be using him to get to Trace. The following year later at the Fair again, Paul recognized me and came right out from behind the fence to talk to me and my friend as it drizzled rain. By the way, I was as calm as a cucumber when I saw him so he wouldn't think I was a crazed fan. Turns out, a calm demeanor is a good thing! Again, I never mentioned wanting to meet Trace. I was thrilled that he remembered me from a year ago and we got to hang out again! I'm wondering how I could get to see them in concert again. I'm a stay-at-home mom of three and wish he were playing the Fork Fair again so it would be closer to home in Fayetteville, PA .
anonymous on March 25, 2010:
I had the opportunity to see Trace 2 weeks ago in Richmond ,VA. I am stll excited. I have never been so thrilled by anyone in my life. He is one fine MAN. But what I love the most about him is the heart and soul he puts into his music. He has never sang a bad song. Arlington is one of my favorites. My Dad was in the military and I think of him every time I hear this. Also the feeling in puts into Till The Last Shot's Fired is so great. Keep up the "Good Work" . God Bless you and your family. You are loved and respected .
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on January 28, 2010:
Our 2008 Tate Family Reunion was held in Nashville and we saw Trace Adkins at the Grand Ole Opry. He was wonderful. You are a super story teller. I read every word and thoroughly enjoyed it. Great job and very entertaining!
Jack on October 18, 2009:
What a great story! 5*s
anonymous on September 11, 2009:
That is so cool that you've become friends with his band! And hilarious, your nervousness!
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on July 29, 2009:
[in reply to milkallergymom] That's a great reminder (for me). I should add Trace's charity to this lens. Thank you!
anonymous on July 29, 2009:
I am thrilled Trace Adkins is performing at the Mississippi Valley Fair in August.
My son is now 27...and has so far survived a severe milk allergy. (He now lives in LA...better food choices for sure ). I did a lot of educating along the way, to friends, classmates, and teachers. He has survived several close calls, and we were grateful to find the food allergy network a few years ago. I will be cheering for you at my beer stand at the fair (I've been selling at the fair for 20 years) What better way to see all the great musical acts!!!! Thanks for all you do!!!!
anonymous on July 23, 2009:
Oh you lucky duck! I LOVE Trace! Great job!
anonymous on July 21, 2009:
Ha Ha Ha!! What a story! My husband is always pulling me leg so I wouldn't have believed him at first either. Nicely done lens! 5*****
Bambi Watson on July 21, 2009:
Wonderful tribute to a talented musician :-)
julieannbrady on July 21, 2009:
You know, I was VERY impressed with Trace Adkins as we learned more about him on Donald Trump's TV show -- The Apprentice. What a remarkable 'business' man!
Rich from Surrey, United Kingdom on July 20, 2009:
I must admit that country music is not my thing, but you've done an awesome job in highlighting his talent! 5*s.
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on July 20, 2009:
[in reply to 24websurf] Oh, I know. He'd tucked that ponytail of his under his cap so well, it looked like it wasn't there at all. For a moment, I was devastated. :) The guys in the band heard everything I said while sitting there in the airport terminal, trying to be subtle and not stare, and they got a good laugh about that one.
Holley Web on July 20, 2009:
I nearly stood up and screamed "NO!" when you talked about the ponytail being fake. YES!! I love Trace Adkins. There is nothing like that voice and the way he moves is...well..mesmerizing. You were very, very lucky whether you botched it or not ;) Loved this lens. laughing from top to bottom.
ctavias0ffering1 on July 19, 2009:
I'm not into Country and hadn't heard of Trace Adkins but this is an awesome piece of writing and great choice of songs. Love the way you've told the story here. 5*