Rodney Atkins 2011 CD, Take A Back Road. Photo courtesy of Curb Records.
“I’ve been cooped up, tied down, ’bout forgotten what a field looks like, full of corn and cotton”, Rodney Atkins sings in the second verse of the title track of his new album, Take A Back Road. The song sets the tone for the whole album, by making the listener “drown all that stressed up, messed up, effed up life” (Just Wanna Rock), and to embrace their inner country boy/girl. Although it has been nearly 3 years since the release of his last studio album, the Tennessee native instantly takes the listener on a drive through life “on a back road”, with 13 well crafted and well ordered songs.
Take A Back Road, Rodney’s fourth studio album is produced by Ted Hewitt. Four main themes occur throughout the album, family (He’s Mine, Family, She’s A Girl), the good, the bad, and the ugly between a man and his wife (Farmer’s Daughter, Cabin in the Woods, Feet, She’d Rather Fight), leaving your cares behind (Take A Back Road, Just Wanna Rock N’ Roll), and poignant life lessons (Growing Up Like That, Tips, Lifelines).
“She ain’t as happy as I am to be home”, Atkins sings in She’d Rather Fight, his satire on a woman not being ready to make up after a fight, later he quips, “Looks like I am sleeping in my truck, because she’s rather fight than… you know what”. The sentiment carries on into the next track, Feet, when they realize that their fights are often silly. A lovers getaway to a Cabin in the Woods finishes the cycle, as the woman is told “I know the guy, who owns the key, to the lock on the chain, of the gate across that gravel road, that winds back into the trees”.
Growing Up Like That, begins reminding listeners of silly, yet useful lessons learned through the growing up years, such as “firewood will warm you twice, once when you cut it and once when you light it” and “if you wanna catch a catfish as long as your arm, son you gotta have a night crawler farm”. Tips teaches the so called grown up lessons, such as “you gotta treat people right on the ride up and they will have your back on the way back down” and “it ain’t about keeping count of what you got, it’s about making what you got count“.
It was once said “Rodney Atkins can not make a bad song”. That was over 3 years and two albums ago; it still rings true. Rodney Atkins – Take A Back Road is paved with gold (but more realistically platinum or multi-platinum).