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30 Apr 09 Rodney Atkins Shows His Love for Texas

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Rodney Atkins is one of the hottest stars in country music today. This weekend, he pulls a rare north Texas daily double: Southern Junction in Rockwall on Friday night, and the world famous Billy Bob’s at the Forth Worth Stockyards on Saturday night. It’s his appreciation for Texas that draws him to the Lone Star state.

“One of my best buddies has been a part of the Texas scene for years, Brian Gowan,” Atkins said. “I love the music that comes out of Texas. If you don’t get Texas, then you don’t get it. There’s nothing like playing for a rowdy crowd in Texas.

“It’s a great time and an honor to be asked to play in the Lone Star State.

When I was starting out, it was the crowds in Texas that really encouraged me and gave me confidence.”

Atkins said he has drawn on many Texas streams during his songwriting. “Willie Nelson, of course,” he commented. “I was thinking of Crazy when I wrote ‘Invisibly Shaken.’ It’s melody and vulnerability. He’s a legend.”

Rodney Atkins has always loved singing. He was drawn early to country music. But he didn’t know if it was really possible to make it as far as he has. His goal at an early age: to be the next Charlie Daniels.

The road to success was not easy.

“I just started playing wherever and whenever I could,” he said. “I slowly worked on playing live and writing songs. Then I made the move to Nashville and tried to meet people and gather as much information and advice as I could.”

In addition to Charlie Daniels, his early influences included Alabama and Texas native George Strait. It’s not surprising that he considers his style to be traditional country.

“I think country music represents the whole country, and it’s an honor to sing about our great nation,” Atkins said, referring to his latest hit, ‘It’s America.’ “At this time we need to support each other and focus on the promise and hope of the future. ‘It’s America’ carries that message, so it’s an important song to sing.”

Atkins understands regular lives because he still leads one. “People always talk about image – ‘You’re the guy in the ball cap, the All-American country boy,’” says Atkins, who does indeed still favor caps to cowboy hats. “But if the songs don’t connect with the folks listening, then none of that stuff matters.”

So far, Atkins says his favorite song is “Watching You,” a mega-hit about a father who discovers that his young son is watching his every move, because “I want to be like you.” Atkins hopes that in the coming years, his career will continue to grow.

Atkins also has advice for those young Texans who aspire to a songwriting or performing career. “Work hard and commit yourself to it. If you really love writing and playing, then just don’t quit. It takes some time, but if it’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing.”

Following his Texas weekend, Atkins will continue his tour across the country. For details, visit www.rodneyatkins.com.

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