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).
Honesty is the best policy
All she wants is “Honesty, sincerity, tenderness and trust. A little less time for the rest of the world, and more for the two of us. Kisses each mornin’, ‘I love you’s’ at night, just like it used to be. The way life was when you were in love with me.” Guys, think we can get the hint? Yeah, I know, we probably won’t, but she will appreciate it if we try.
You can always tell a country boy, but you can’t tell him much
He?ll go off and take a long walk, when he needs some time to think. Might even let you drive his truck, when he?s had too much to drink. [He's] ?Bout as true blue as Old Glory, waitin? out there on the porch. He?s on a fence about a lot of things, but on you his mind?s made up, ?cause he swears there?s nothin? sweeter than the sweet sound of your voice. Now come on girl and tell this country boy whatever?s on your heart.
Notice the little things that make home home
It’s a high school prom
It’s a Springsteen song
It’s a ride in a Chevrolet
It’s a man on the moon
And fireflies in June
And kids sellin’ lemonade
It’s cities and farms
It’s open arms
One nation under God
If you’re going through Hell, keep on goin’
If you don’t slow down, the Devil won’t even know you are there.
Maybe it is the freedom or the feeling that makes you want to take a back road
We all need to slow down a bit and relax, drive down a back road with the window down, the radio turned up blaring some All-American Country Music, and the wind blowing in our hair. There is nothing that is more relaxing than leaving the hustle and bustle for a while and hitting a dirt road to see where it takes you.
Nothing beats chasing girls
Have you ever met an old man that still didn’t like chasing girls? Enough said.
Everyone needs a friend with a tractor
It doesn’t matter if it is a big tractor or a small one. It is like an insurance policy, and probably will make getting that pickup unstuck a whole lot easier.
The best things in life since women are…