It was Oct. 4, and the country found itself in the midst of controversy. Countless athletes and other Americans were making headlines by protesting some things they didn’t like about what was going on in the U.S. by kneeling during the national anthem. On that night, Trace Adkins stepped on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. And while he could have spoken out about how he felt, he didn’t.
“The stage is not the place for a political rant about your political views,” Trace told Rare Country in a recent interview. “I’m not going to subject people to that.”
Instead, he let the music speak for itself.
Trace performed his song “Still a Soldier,” and when it came to that moment when he sang, “He’ll stand up when he hears the anthem,” the Opry crowd cheered in support.
It was a moment Trace and everyone in that room needed.
“Every time I sing that lyric live, people sing it louder than you would believe,” he told Rare Country. “Whenever I sing it, I think about that guy watching football on a Sunday afternoon who has to struggle to get up on his feet through the pain of arthritis, or because he uses prosthetics. I always have that vision in my head.”
Trace often brings veterans up to join him onstage for various songs in his set list. “I want to give them an opportunity to come up on the stage and have the audience honor them,” he said. “I’ve always wanted it to be about them — the veterans.”
And yes, he believes that “Still a Soldier” came out at just the right time. “I’m not going to claim to have some influence on pop culture,” laughed Trace. “But when we cut this song in the studio, we just looked at each other and knew we had something special. With all the stuff in the news lately, it makes the song especially timely and poignant.”