Trace Adkins appeared on Bill Maher’s Club Random podcast this week for a wide-ranging interview, one in which the four-time Billboard Country Airplay chart-topper offered up his opinions on topics including music, how his voice has improved over the years, his smoking habit, his past struggles with drinking, Elvis Presley’s death and his desire to make an album of classic “crooner” songs made famous by artists such as Frank Sinatra.
Louisiana native Adkins, who has never been shy about offering his views on hot topics and who previously released the 2007 book A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck, also gave his perspectives on the backlash Morgan Wallen and Jason Aldean both faced in recent years. Maher brought up the controversy that surrounded Aldean’s song “Try That in a Small Town” and its music video, which included scenes filmed at Tennessee’s Maury County Courthouse, where a Black man named Henry Choate was lynched in 1927.
Maher said Aldean likely did not know the history of the music video location when filming the video there.
“He had no idea,” Adkins agreed, later adding, “The grievance junkies turn on somebody and they try to cancel them, and all it’s going to do, he’s going to sell more records than he ever has and it’s going to make him bigger than he’s ever been. … He had no idea, man. Do you know how many music videos I’ve done that I’ve called up the director and went, ‘Hey, man, now what about this location where we’re shooting this thing?’ And if I did do that, it’s only because I didn’t know where I was going. He [Aldean] had no idea. That director picked that location because it had the look they wanted. It was just a small-town courthouse, that’s all it was. And it happened to be close.”
Maher also brought up Wallen, who garnered backlash after he was filmed using a racial slur outside his Nashville home in 2021. Though Wallen was dropped by his booking agency at the time and briefly suspended from his label and had his music pulled from radio and streaming platforms, he has since seen his music dominate music charts and his tours swell from arenas to stadium dates.
“He sold out two nights in a row, 55,000-plus tickets each night,” Adkins said. “God…cancel me,” he added with a laugh. When Maher stated that he didn’t feel that either Wallen nor Aldean was racist, Adkins answered, “I’ve been around both of those guys. They’re good guys. There’s no… they’re not racist.”
Earlier in the conversation, Adkins also recalled that his mother beat COVID “three times, and she’s 81. … The first time she got it was pretty rough, but then the next two times it wasn’t very bad. She had built up a natural immunity, I suppose.”
Adkins noted that he got COVID-19 twice, but added that he did receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“So you didn’t think the vaccine had a chip in it to track you?” Maher asked, addressing a conspiracy theory, with Adkins replying, “You know what? I just, I don’t buy all of that crap, you know? I’m like, give me a vaccine for everything that you’ve got one for. I’ll take them. I’m not scared of that. … I don’t think they’re trying to put something in the vaccines to control us.”
Adkins also noted his love of comedy and his respect for comedians, given that that each night, a comedian’s success or failure onstage relies solely on themselves.
“I’ve got such respect for what you guys do, because you’re working without a net. I’ve got those five or six guys standing up there onstage with me. I got my gang, I got my muscle. You don’t like what I’m doing? You’re gonna have to deal with these guys. But you’re up there by yourself. I’ve got just crazy respect for what you guys do.”
Watch the full podcast interview below: