These days, Rodney Atkins has a lot to inspire him. He and his wife, Rose Falcon, welcomed baby boy Ryder Falcon Adkins in December 2017. His son, Elijah, from his first marriage, is now 16, and goes by Eli, although Atkins admits he still calls him ‘Bear.’ “We’ve got one in the stroller and one behind the wheel. It’s crazy,” he shakes his head and smiles during a chat with Sounds Like Nashville.
“They are two completely different kids. Eli was what they called a ‘happy spitter.’ He spit up all the time and Ryder is completely different. He’s his own little dude. It’s the cutest thing. He’s amazing. He’s blonde-headed. When Eli was born, that was magical for me, but then it’s the same thing with Ryder. Now Eli is wrapped up in baseball and being a teenager, and he loves having a brother.”
“[I’ve been] living life and raising kids. Success is being happy where you are,” he says. “I went through a divorce and went from thinking, ‘What in the world is happening here? This is crazy!’ to ‘This is where I should be! This is the right thing!’ That’s when Rose came into my life. I would say that Rose is my ‘Winnie the Pooh thing.’ From the moment we met, I knew I was in for a great adventure. Rose and I just started playing guitar, singing songs and she reminded me what I loved about music. We’ve just been building a life and being happy. She’s had me falling in love with writing songs again and figuring out what I want to sing about.”
That inspiration led to a new batch of music, including the song “My Life.” The track is one of the songs he’s most excited about as it was inspired by Rose’s grandparents. “Her grandmother passed away Christmas before last. Her grandpa is still alive. He’s 98. He’s an American legend,” he grins. “They’d been married for 70 years. When Rose and I started dating and I realized this is the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, we talked about what we want and she said, ‘I want what my grandparents have.’”
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Her grandparents’ love story inspired the young couple, and though they were Rose’s relatives, he felt a kinship. “Grandma was an orphan, and I could relate to a lot of the struggles she went through, your self-worth and all the things you go through,” says Atkins, who was adopted. “Right before Grandma died, she was scratching these notes out and the last note she wrote was to Grandpa and it said ‘I love my life.’ Rose and I talked about it and we have the actual note. We wanted to write a song and we talked about her, but the only way I could write it was about me and Rose. So Rose helped me write this tune and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever been a part of.”
Atkins’ eyes light up when he speaks of his wife. “I never had the experience of having someone that I laugh with, openly lose it laughing with. Rose and I do, and we don’t get tired of each other. I’m more in love with her today than I was yesterday. She makes me better.”
Atkins is quick to talk about how blessed he is to have such a family, and there’s another group of folks in his life that are dear to his heart. That’s his fans.
“They encourage you. They push you. They are the best. I have no other way of putting it. Rose gets it and appreciates them so much too. I cherish every single moment and every single interaction. I’m one of the rare people who loves meet and greets,” he says of artist/fan gatherings backstage at concerts. “I love meeting them. It’s even hard for me to say ‘fans’ still because they are friends and I don’t know what I’d do without them. Playing music has never been about feeding me. It’s about, ‘How can we relate?’ I just try to relate to people. I’m not a good talker, but let’s sing a song together and we’ll be okay. I love every minute I get to spend with them. The interaction and encouragement we have is beautiful.”