Craig Havighurst
December 29, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Trace Adkins, a real-deal roughneck with an earth-moving baritone, tends to extremes of up-tempo attitude or fist-clenching melodrama on Comin’ On Strong. He’s best in between, as with ”Baby’s Gone,” a moving mea culpa, or the title track, which suggests George Strait with a sexier voice. Too bad the well-written oil-driller song ”Missing You” gets waterlogged with strings. ”Untamed” captures the CD’s key shortcoming: His tough talk can get neutered by production as tame as soft-rock radio.

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