25 September 2023

Caught Up In The Country

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Rodney Atkins, Sony Music 2019.

It’s been seven years since Rodney Atkins’ last studio album, Take A Back Road, and more than 12 years after his major hit single, Watching You, became the Number One Song Of The Decade according to Country Aircheck.

In 2006 he was named the Top Male Vocalist at the American Country Music Awards and his place at the forefront of American country music seemed assured.

But then after a short period where he released four well-received albums he went quiet.

Seven years on he has finally released an album of new original material.

He claims that the long pause is because he wanted to make this album something special.

He knew that he needed to take his songs further than he had previously achieved and that making his best music can require patience and experimentation.

The time and effort has been worth it because the strength of this album is the quality of the songs.

Rodney’s style is solidly country with emphasis on the modern country rock sound.

There is nothing particularly new or different there but it’s in his lyrics that we see the benefit of the additional time devoted to his song writing craft.

While country clichés still abound there is also a more nuanced approach that creates additional interest.

A song like So Good is a sophisticated ballad of love and loss that is a step ahead of most of his previous work.

The addition of full orchestration takes the song to another level.

I enjoyed this album mainly because of the lyrics.

Musically it’s fairly conservative and played well, however there is a lot discover with a close listen to the words.

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