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Rodney Atkins’ fifth studio album, Caught Up in the Country, reveals an artist who is confident enough to know that making your best music can require patience and experimentation. While his storied career has reached such heights as being named the Top New Male Vocalist at the 2006 ACM awards and seeing his single "Watching You" become the Number One Song of the Decade, according to Country Aircheck, it’s been more than seven years since Take a Back Road, his last record of new material. But Atkins knew that this time, he wanted to bring his songs further than he had ever gone before.
The results, he believes, are the most daring collection of his career, touching on emotions and sounds which continue to expand his range—from the twangy celebration of the album’s title track (featuring the roof-raising vocals of The Fisk Jubilee Singers) to the slow-burn cover of Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up.” And with six Number One singles, eight Top Five singles, and over 13 million units sold, Atkins sees that his track record validates his approach
Atkins married singer Rose Falcon, a relationship that determined much of the music’s direction. His new marriage was also an influence on the kind of material Atkins wanted to record. In addition, Falcon’s vocals can be heard throughout the album, and features on the duets “Figure Out You (Riddle)” and “Everybody’s Got Something.”
From “Young Man,” which continues a series of songs inspired by Atkins’ eldest son as he grows up, to “My Life,” the powerful story of Falcon’s beloved grandmother, Caught Up in the Country is made up of what Atkins calls “life songs, not just ditties.” Musically, the project demonstrates similar ambition, whether sampling the sound of Atkins kicking the front door of his truck and making that into a drum track, adding Midi guitar sounds emulating strings and piano on “So Good,” or even the remix of the title song by Dutch DJ Sam Feldt, which became a surprising viral hit.
With a toddler at home and—as dramatically revealed in the lyric video for “My Life”—another baby on the way, Rodney Atkins is energized and driven, both personally and creatively, in entirely new ways. With Caught Up in the Country, one of country music’s biggest stars is starting his next chapter.
2022: Rodney Atkins
2021: Josh Turner
2019: Ryan Hurd and Taylor Made
2018: Taylor Made and Rick K. and the Allnighters
2017: Aaron Tippin, Claire Dunn and Trent Tomlinson
2016: John Anderson, Confederate Railroad and Keith Walker
2014: Jake Owen and Kellie Pickler
2013: Travis Tritt and The Davisson Brothers Band
2012: Ronnie Dunn and James Wesley
2011: Josh Turner, Little Big Town, The Davisson Brothers Band and Chris Janson
2010: The Charlie Daniels Band and Taylor Made
2009: Randy Owen, Abby Abbondanza and Taylor Made
2008: Randy Travis and Taylor Made
2007: Lonestar and Taylor Made
2006: The Charlie Daniels Band and Taylor Made
2005: The Association and Billy Joe Royal
2004: The Platters and The Vogues