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Randolph County Herald Tribune - Chester, IL
  • Rodney Atkins sings country to connect to his audience, charities

  • Rodney Atkins wants to sing songs about life; songs he hopes connect with country music listeners. He said seeing the way people react to his songs is amazing. “It has been very surreal seeing these songs connect on such a level,” Atkins said.

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  • Rodney Atkins wants to sing songs about life; songs he hopes connect with country music listeners.
    “To do that, and to see how it touches people’s lives, and to hear the stories and hear the messages, and the emails, the cards and letters, and people coming up at shows ... that’s the dream,” Atkins said during a recent telephone interview. “It was not, move to town and sing songs. It was to build and touch folks’ lives.”
    Atkins released his self-titled album in 1997. It would be six more years until his follow-up entry, “Honesty,” made a significant impact on country music radio and sales, led by the No. 4 single “Honesty (Write Me a List).”
    But Atkins’ third album, “If You’re Going Through Hell,” cemented his place in the limelight when it reached No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s country album chart, and the single “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)” became the most played country song of 2006.
    Atkins has also garnered several No. 1 country singles, including “Take a Back Road” and “These Are My People.” His latest single is “Just Wanna Rock N Roll.”
    He also has some songs that seem to connect with listeners, such as “Farmer’s Daughter.”
    “That song was related to in so many ways by folks — it’s like an if-they-are-going-through-hell love song,” Atkins said.
    He said seeing the way people react to his songs is amazing.
    “It has been very surreal seeing these songs connect on such a level,” Atkins said. “ … It’s amazing. I am very, very, very grateful that I get to do this, and I don’t take advantage.” 
    Expressing gratitude is important to Atkins, and he’s trying to instill this quality in his son.
    “I am trying to teach my son this: The first step (to) doing something great is to be grateful,” he said.
    Another way he strives to be grateful is by supporting several nonprofit groups, including the American Red Cross and the USO. Atkins, who was adopted, also supports the National Council for Adoption and enjoys visiting the Holston Methodist Home for Children in Greenville, Tenn.
    “This is the way this whole country works, with the charities and with the Red Cross, for example. I love being a part of that. It’s what ‘these are my people’ is all about,” Atkins said.

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