Platinum-selling artist,Â Rodney Atkins, just released â€œCaught Up In The Country,â€ back in April after a five-year musical hiatus and will be releasing his fifth studio album later this year. We caught up with him at the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam in Florida Saturday to hear more about it!Â
What are you looking forward to most playing the Gulf Coast Jam today?
I always love to get to sing â€œFarmerâ€™s Daughterâ€ in Panama City cause of the lyric, â€œJust getting home from Panama City.â€ It is always a whole lot of just hearing the crowd sing back. I know that they are here to party.
Do you plan on catching any shows while here at the festival?
I am going to try to. We have a pretty good haul to the next city tonight. We try to stay as long as we possibly can. I love listening to country music.
You have been busy working on your upcoming fifth studio album, can you tell us a little about it?
We are finishing it up and just tracked the last couple songs to finish the album. It is interesting, because I have worked about four and half years on this album and I am a firm believer in listening to the real world. I would have never had a hit really if I would have just listened to the industry professionals. They actually wanted to change the title of, â€œIf Youâ€™re Going Through Hellâ€ to â€œIf the Devil Even Knows (if youâ€™re going through hell)â€ and the song â€œCleaning this Gunâ€ to â€œCome on in Boy (Cleaning this gun).â€ I was also told that people did not really want to hear me sing about my four-year-old saying a four-letter word. But I left Nashville for a while back in 2004 and I played these songs for the real world on tour. And people wanted to hear them. So, for the new stuff I went in and recorded them the way we had been playing the songs live. I am excited to get the album finished. It will hopefully be out in November.
You have said this album doesnâ€™t sound like anything you have recorded or released before and “Caught Up in the Country,” is your first new music since 2014. What has changed in your life between then and now. Is there a big difference in writing since then?
I found the love of my life with Mrs. Rose Falcon. Rose is an incredible singer/songwriter and just artist in general and she encouraged me to push myself and be more vulnerable. The first single out now, â€œCaught Up in the Country,â€ is almost the least produced song I have ever done. It is minimal instruments. There is just a big kick drum, a few guitars, and a whole lot of people singing and clapping. I got to really take my time and work on every single sound on this album.
How did you know when you had the right songs for the new album?
Part of the process is if I hear something and I love it and it does something to me. I always try to find songs that have a connection and that is what the songs on the new album do.
Did you use your touring band in the studio for this album?
I used a few of the guys from the Take a Back Road Album, there is a guitar player that has played on every album, and then in my band Mark Evans played strings on several of the songs.
What excites you most about the Nashville music scene right now?
I feel like it is sort of coming back around to the songs. It went into the production side of things where people were like “oh that loopâ€ or what not. People discovered logic in all the different ways you can have sounds already created. Now I feel like it’s where the songs are taking back over. You can have great sounding records, but the songs are being held up to a new standard which is great. I thought â€œBody Like a Back Roadâ€ was a great song where they combined both of those things. It has a great production and when those things meet, those are the songs that will be around forever.
You have built quite a fan following on social media and through touring. How do you stay connected with your fans?
Honestly, I stay more connected by being real on social media instead of just trying to be nice and neat. It is when you are just yourself that fans love.
Are fans going to be able to meet and talk with you during the festival?
Yeah! We are going to do a meet and greet after the show. It is my favorite part.
Since we are hanging out on the gulf coast of Florida, do you plan on getting any seafood while you are here.
Maybe if we have time. I actually blocked some time in November, it is my son Eli’s school Fall break. We will be right back down here. We will do a little fishing. But we are big on everybody in the family doing things together. We will be doing a whole lot of swimming for sure.
What would you say is your favorite thing at a festival?
Lemonade. I am a lemonade junkie.
Favorite food that is deep fried?
Chicken. The funniest thing about fairs and festivals are the places that have their claim to fame. Like Minnesota has everything on a stick. You can probably get scrambled eggs on a stick. Â
Is there anything else that youâ€™d like to share?
We are having fun out here and check out the new music coming!