He has mostly played tough guys, bad guys, cowboys and lawmen. Roles where his imposing frame and gruff voice could serve him.

But in his newest movie role, we can hear that tender tone in Trace Adkins’ voice that we hear in songs like “Help Me Understand,” “They They Do” and “You’re Gonna Miss This.” And although the movie part is new, the role is pretty familiar to Trace.

He’s playing an artist manager in the film “I Can Only Imagine.”

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“I Can Only Imagine” is based on the 2001 hit song of the same name recorded by the contemporary Christian band MercyMe, and written by the band’s lead singer, Bart Millard. The song was inspired by the death of Bart’s father during his freshman year of college, and the lyrics consider what it must be like to be standing in heaven with God.

The plot pivots around a much-needed message of forgiveness, and at a time when negativity and hate are so prevalent on social media, it also offers a ray of faith and hope.

Trace’s role is that of Scott Brickell, MercyMe’s manager, and it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for the country star. After more than 20 years in the music business, he has a pretty good idea of what being managed looks like. And while some celebrity managers are strictly business, Scott Brickell — like most country managers — also has a lot of heart and a ton of passion for his artists.

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If there has been the usual amount of hype around the release of the new movie, we haven’t seen it. But that won’t lessen the impact of the message in “I Can Only Imagine,” which just premiered in Nashville.

The movie opens in theaters on March 16 and, in addition to Trace, it stars J. Michael Finley as Bart Millard, Dennis Quaid as Bart’s father and Cloris Leachman as Bart’s grandmother, who also gives the band its MercyMe name.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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