Toby Keith, Trace AdkinsThe American Ride tour, featuring Toby Keith, Trace Adkins and James Otto, launched in Holmdel, N.J., over the weekend, and Trace says last year's trek with Toby was the catalyst for him changing record labels, moving from Capitol Nashville to Show Dog-Universal Music.

"Touring with Toby last year, it changed my career, because I got to see first hand not just the way his organization is run, but the fact that they still place a premium on having fun," says Trace. "That's why I got in this business in the first place, and that's where I want to be. I don't know how many more years I've got left in this business, but I want to have fun with the ones I do have left. This feels like a comfortable place and the right place for me to be able to do this. I'm glad that's where I'm at now."

For the second time around, Trace is certain he'll add a few elements to his show, but he's not quite sure about the plans of his tour partner. "I don't know what he's going to change, but I've got a new album coming out, so I'll put a few new songs in my set," says the Louisiana native. "He'll probably do the same old crap he did last year. [laughs] It was a great tour last year, so we decided let's do it again. So far, the early ticket sales look like it's going to be strong again this year, and we're doing more cities this year than we did last year."

During the CMA Music Festival, someone in the press room asked who was tougher, Trace or Toby? Trace didn't want to guess, but he did say, "My toughness has been documented. I have the scars and surgeries to prove it. Toby and I come from that same cut of cloth. We both came out of the oil field. We have the same mentality. I wouldn't want to find out who is the toughest."

Both Trace and Toby have several festival dates on the books before they return to the American Ride tour in Raleigh, N.C., on July 10.