After over two decades in country music, it's hard to imagine that the Tennessee-born Atkins could still treasure the difficult moments and the arduous process of creating a song from the ground up. But he's just the kind of artist who loves the roots as much as the tree. With six number-one hits under his belt, four studio LP's, and over 10 million units sold, Atkins is more invested than ever in making honest, authentic records that tell a story and showcase his unique place in the world, which is exactly what he does on his forthcoming fifth LP. But it took a moment, about three years ago, for him to take stock not just of where he'd been, but where he was going. "I equated it to my bow and arrow moment," Atkins says. "I felt like I needed to stop, take a few steps back. Re-aim. Re-adjust. Get back on target, and to the level I wanted to operate on."
It was a logical moment – in the wake of his first greatest hits compilation, Rodney Atkins Greatest Hits, in 2015, he wanted his next sonic offering to not only push country music forward but stay connected to what had always made it great to begin with. And, in Atkins' eyes, that's songs about the highways of life; about family, and about love. And one true love, in particular. For Atkins, that's his wife, Rose Falcon Atkins, to whom he owes so much of his creative reinvention. He credits Rose, a singer and artist herself, with helping him to find his voice again.
"I'm a song mechanic," he says. "I just love working on songs." From the southern swagger of "What Lonely Looks Like" or the timeless twang of "Caught Up in the Country," that pushes boundaries through a thunderous beat and vocals from the Fisk Jubilee Singers, they all paint a picture of a man who isn’t afraid to show what he loves – be it the country lifestyle or the woman by his side – because that's just who Atkins is. And that, he thinks, is what's most important.