Trace Adkins Not Sorry for ‘Brown Chicken Brown Cow’
Earlier this month, Trace Adkins attended Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville, which hosts radio programmers from sea to shining sea for a week of music and education. It's been widely reported that during the event, Trace took the stage and apologized for his risqué single, 'Brown Chicken Brown Cow.' But that's not exactly what he meant to do.
"There's been a lot made of that, but I must not have worded it the right way that night, because I did not apologize for the song," Trace tells The Boot. "I apologized for asking some ultra-conservative radio stations to play it. I should have known better than that."
The singer-turned-sometimes-actor recognizes that it's purely business. "I'm the first one to stand up here and admit that I don't always pick the right singles but, hey, [radio doesn't] help very much," Trace adds. "I've never had radio collectively come to me and say, 'Oh, my God. Please release this song.' Ya know, why? Because they don't listen to albums anymore. That's why."
So what was Trace's motivation for releasing 'Brown Chicken Brown Cow'? "What we thought going in was that there would be about 70 percent of [radio stations that contribute to the charts] that would play it, and about 30 percent would not," he admits. "What we didn't expect was those numbers to be opposite. When you have a single like that, it's going to run up against that hesitation on a lot of people's parts: they just did not want to play it. I've been in this business long enough now that I'm man enough to look radio in the eye and say, 'Hey, I get it. If you're not comfortable playing this song, I'm not going to ask you to. Let's just get a do-over. I'll send you something else.' It's simple as that."
Although, Trace has had success with other racy songs, such as 'Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.' "I guess I went to that well one too many times," he explains. "They're over it. It's like if I was a painter. I was painting landscapes and I couldn't sell any of them, then one day I decided to paint a bowl of fruit and someone walks in my studio and immediately buys it. Then I start painting more bowls of fruit, and they're selling great for a while and I stop painting landscapes. Then someone comes in and says, 'Got any landscapes?' 'No, I quit doing those.' 'Well, I want those now.' 'Oh.'"
Trace's 'do-over' is already on it's way. 'Goin' Fishin',' a tale of father-daughter time, was released to radio this week. "I don't regret releasing 'Brown Chicken Brown Cow' because it's gone viral and made a lot of noise," Trace says. "We've had a lot of downloads on the video and the song. It did prove my point. I knew that where this song got played it would work. And where it did get played it sold a lot of downloads. There were just a lot of other stations that just weren't going to go there and that's okay. I get it."
Even with that tough exterior, Trace admits he still gets a little uneasy talking on stage. "I wanted to say this that night at CRS and I got up there and got nervous and forgot to say it," he admits. "I think probably the thing I've sucked at the most in my career has been picking singles. I've cut songs that were as big as hits as anyone else in this business has had but they've never been singles. I've got hits all over the albums that I have in my repertoire. I've had a bad track record picking singles."
Which songs would he go back and release given the chance? "'She's Still There' which was on my 'More' album," he says. "It was my third album. It was one of the most beautiful song. There was a song called 'Every Other Friday at Five.' Beautiful song that should have been a single. I look back and there were a lot of hits left on the table that we didn't get to service to radio."
But his career isn't over yet, there's plenty of time to get it right.