On This Day: Trace Adkins Scores First No. 1 with ‘(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing’ in 1997

by Jim Casey

Trace Adkins topped the charts for the first time in his career with “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing” on April 5, 1997. The No. 1 single solidified Trace as a new vocal force in the industry and helped him win the ACM Award for Top New Male Artist in 1997.

Trace Adkins was just a small-town Louisiana man chasing his country music dreams when he moved to Nashville in 1992. His dreams became a reality with the release of his debut album, Dreamin’ Out Loud.

Dreamin’ Big

On the strength of his Top 20 debut single, “There’s a Girl in Texas,” Traced dropped his debut album, Dreamin’ Out Loud, on June 25, 1996. Scott Hendricks of Capitol Nashville produced the 10-song offering. Scott “signed” Trace to a record deal after hearing him perform at a bar outside of Nashville in the mid-1990s.

After hearing Trace’s first set, Scott went up to Trace on the stage and said, “I’ll give you a record deal.”

“That’s all he said,” recalled Trace in his 2008 book, A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck. “He handed me his number. The next morning I called him. I said, ‘Dude, about this record deal. If we’re talking about another development deal, I have to tell you, man, I’m 34 years old. I’m fully developed. I know what I am, who I am, what my strengths are, what my weaknesses are. And I know what I’m doing. I don’t need nor do I want to be developed.'”

“I agree, I just want you to do what I saw you do last night,” said Scott.

Trace Reaches the Top

Trace followed up the release of “There’s a Girl in Texas” with “Every Light in the House Is On.” Now considered one of Trace’s signature songs, “Every Light in the House Is On” beamed at the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

It turns out, the third time was the charm for Trace.

Trace released his third single, “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,” on January 21, 1997. By April 4, it was No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Trace had secured his first of four career No. 1 singles. The album’s success helped Trace score tour dates with the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black, and Alan Jackson. Additionally, the Academy of Country Music named Trace the Top New Male Artist of the Year in 1997.

Trace had arrived.

Dreamin’ Out Loud was certified Platinum by the RIAA in 1997 for sales of 1 million units.