Rodney AtkinsFriday, February 16, 2018
with Drew Baldridge
Rodney Atkins knows the value of taking the long way home, of veering off the beaten path onto that road less traveled once in a while. You can hear it in his music, in the lyrics of his smash new single, "Take A Back Road," a song that celebrates that feeling of getting away from the noise of everyday life, really living in the moment, and getting right with your soul. And you can see it in the way he lives his life: putting family first, listening to that inner voice and remaining true to himself, and striving to evolve and find unique ways of expressing himself through the music he puts out into the world. It’s a philosophy he tries to employ throughout his life, and it has led him to some amazing places.
"What does it mean to follow your own path? I try to think about that a lot when I’m making an album," explains Rodney, describing the journey he took in making his fourth album, "Take A Back Road." "To me, it’s go somewhere you’ve never been, because when you do that, you wind up seeing things that no one has seen before. Which means you can paint the picture differently."
The hardworking artist gathered up a whole new set of colors when he set about creating his latest masterpiece/fourth CD, "Take A Back Road," and he cranked the whole recording process up a notch in intensity -- which is saying something for a guy who is pretty darned intense to begin with. But he wanted this project, his first in nearly three years, to convey and express some emotions and feelings in an authentic yet different way. Simply put -- Rodney had a lot to say musically, and he wanted to say it in exactly the right way.
The East Tennessee native has an impressive track record with hitting on sentiments that strike a chord with the country listener: he’s had five number one hits from his first three albums, from "Watching You" and "These Are My People" to his most recent smash, "Farmer’s Daughter," (which quickly skyrocketed to platinum,) and he’s sold over four million singles in the past five years alone. His latest single, "Take A Back Road" is on course to propel him to even bigger heights with its irresistibly catchy chorus and easygoing, windows-down, breezy summer vibe. The tune is near platinum status just weeks after its release.
Though his new crop of songs has some edge, and the vocal energy may be amped up a notch, Rodney is still the same, hard-working, patriotic, rock-solid country boy that fans have grown to know and love since his debut with 2003‟s "Honesty." He still relishes the time spent with wife Tammy Jo and his son Elijah, and still serves as the spokesperson for brands like Massey Ferguson and the National Council for Adoption, a cause dear to his heart as a child of adoption himself. Rodney volunteers for the council on a large scale, but also makes plenty of time to return to the Holston Methodist Home for Children in Greenville, TN, where he was adopted as a small baby as well, for visits. After all, the road back to the tiny hometown where he got his start may be a long one, and a long way from the glitzy one he travels now as a country star, but for Rodney, nothing could ever beat the power of taking that back road and returning home to your roots.
Punchy horn section stabs … a popping bass beat … James Brown guitar jangles … a slamming backbeat …
It’s all there on the opening track from Drew Baldridge’s Dirt On Us — and yes, it is country music, as country as it comes.
From the soul-band sizzle of “Train” to the reverent rendition of the old hymn “It Is Well,” Baldridge’s debut album comes straight from his heart to yours. It also targets your feet on uptempo tracks such as “Everyday Light,” “Curious Girl” and “Dance With Ya,” the single that rocketed him into the spotlight. It turns down the lights and steams up the windows with “Love On Your Body,” “Burnt Toast” and “Rebound,” with a guest vocal by Emily Weisband that uses just one note to cast its seductive spell. And it evokes simpler times through vivid lyrical imagery on “Tractors Don’t Roll,” “Town That Time Forgot” and the title cut.
What makes it all country? Simple: Ever since he heard his first Alabama track at age 5 back in Patoka, Illinois, this rangy young man’s roots have drawn from the sound and feeling of authentic, old-school country. So has his life, from working on his family farm to bonfire parties with friends on Saturday night and savoring family dinners after church every Sunday.
But there’s more than roots in this picture. Look skyward and you’ll see where Baldridge reached as well toward Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, raw backwoods blues and any other music that captured the trials and joys of real life.
All of that feeds into Dirt On Us, the product not just of his influences and upbringing but also of a long scuffle to claim his place in country music.
“I moved to Nashville at 19,” he says. “It’s taken me all five of the years since then to make this album. I didn’t just go in and cut everything. It was two or three years of writing, recording the best of what I wrote, taking the best of that, going back in and doing it all over again. I wanted to take the time I needed to experiment and see where it all led me. I wanted to create music that was different from your everyday country music.”
Friday, February 16, 2018
Doors Open 7:00 PM
Showtime 8:00 PM
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