Rodney Atkins New Single ‘Caught Up In The Country’ Is True To Him

Have you heard 'Caught Up In The Country' yet?

Rodney Atkins New Single ‘Caught Up In The Country’ Is True To Him
Rodney Atkins; Photo courtesy Essential Broadcast Media

They say good things come to those who wait. Well, Rodney Atkins’ fans have cause to celebrate as his new single, “Caught Up in the Country,” hits airwaves.

“This song is a labor of love,” Atkins tells Sounds Like Nashville while sitting in his publicist’s office near Music Row. “It just really ties together everything I’ve been working on for the last five years making this record. It pushes the envelope sonically. It’s organic. It’s got energy. It just made sense [as the new single] because it represents what I’ve been caught up in, and I just love every inch of doing this.”

Written by Connie Harrington, Mike Walker and Jordan Schmidt, the rousing uptempo song features a guest appearance by the legendary Fisk Jubilee Singers. “They invited me to do an event with them at the Ryman Auditorium,” Atkins says. “I went in and rehearsed and we started singing ‘I’m Working On a Building,’ and they just started clapping and stomping, laughing and singing. My wife, Rose, was with me and she got tears in her eyes. She goes, ‘This is church. This is the spirit. This is the spirit of what we do.’”

Atkins never forgot the chemistry they shared that night and the energy they generated. When he was recording his new single, it sparked an idea. “I kept asking myself, ‘What is this missing? What does it need to hopefully let other people feel that way?’ and it just hit me–the Fisk Jubilee Singers! I thought, ‘If they would do this, oh my gosh, that would be incredible!’ So they agreed,” he says with a big smile. “We went down and recorded them and had them stomp, clap and sing and had them take any kind of ad-libs they wanted to do. Then I just assembled it all, moved different things around and got all these crazy sounds. I thought I’d lost my mind and then I played it for my son, Eli, and he said, ‘That’s what I’ll listen to! I’ll listen to that!’”

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Atkins’ new single is a relatable celebration of rural life that manages to sound like an intersection of classic Rodney Atkins with a progressive curve. Walking that line between giving fans what they’ve come to expect while exploring new sonic territory is a delicate balance, but Atkins navigates it well. “The challenge is making things that are true to you,” he says, and admits that early on, he and his manager, Greg Hill, had a conversation that set the bar.

“In some of the early pictures, I had leather pants and goo in my hair,” he laughs. “When I sat down with Greg and we started working together, he said, ‘Do you ever wear this?’ and I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘We’re going to take a picture of you right now in a ball cap and jeans. That’s what you always wear.’ So he took a picture, printed it, put it on his desk and every song [we’ve considered recording] since then, he’ll put the picture up and say, ‘Will you believe that guy singing that song?’ It always comes back to that and over and over and over.”

Rodney Atkins

L to R: Curb Records’ Benson Curb, Ryan Dokke and RJ Meacham, Rodney Atkins, WME’s Lane Wilson, Curb Records’ Jeff Tuerff, Samantha Deprez and Jessie Lowe; Photo Credit: Rick Diamond

Such authenticity resonates strongly with audiences and has earned Atkins a string of hits, including “If You’re Going Through Hell,” “Watching You,” “These Are My People,” “Cleaning This Gun (Come on in Boy)” and “It’s America.” At a recent Music Row event to launch his new single, Atkins was honored with a plaque celebrating nine gold, platinum and multi-platinum certifications from the RIAA. Since signing with Curb Records in 1996, Atkins has sold 13 million units and scored six No. 1 songs, including “Watching You,” which Country Aircheck named the song of the decade. Atkins was the second most-played artist of the decade overall.

The East Tennessee native is about fans hearing the new songs on his upcoming project. “This album is a lot more about where I am and where I’m going and not a lot about where I was,” he says of his fifth studio album. “There’s some songs that are representative of the music that made me when I moved to town like early Garth and those late 80’s artists like Dwight Yoakam that made me. That’s why I wanted to do music.”