Atkins Plans 'To Bring It'

By Kristi Singer - For The Sun News

Country music chart topper Rodney Atkins will perform tonight at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach with special guest the Lost Trailers. Atkins is currently touring off of the seemingly never-ending success of his album, "Going Through Hell," which was released in 2006 on Curb Records. Atkins follows Tim McGraw as one of the few country artists to achieve four consecutive No. 1 singles off the same album on Billboard's Hot Country Singles Chart. Atkins' hits include "Cleaning This Gun," "Watching You," "If You're Going Through Hell" and "These Are My People." Atkins will release his next studio album, "It's America," in late March. Kicks caught up with Atkins last week, who was so busy that we had to do our interview via e-mail.

Here's what he had to share:
Question Answer: We're in Verona, N.Y. - getting ready for a show tonight.

Q. | What can fans, and maybe newcomers to your show, expect from your gig at the House of Blues?
A. | They'll hear things they know - off of the "Going Through Hell" album and some new music we'll try out off of the new album. The show keeps growing - hopefully we're making the show better and better. We're just there to have a good time. I learned a lot about performing being on tour with Brooks and Dunn and ZZ Top. I learned to get on the stage and bring it. That's what they do every night and that's exactly the kind of show I want to put on for folks. Our show tends to have a lot of energy, not a lot of ballads, so hopefully we'll be able to "bring it," too. I think that the folks will be able to relate to the music that we play. My goal as an entertainer is to be authentic, just be myself, and make a genuine connection with the audience. Coming out to the House of Blues is definitely a highlight of the spring.

Q. | I love your hit and title track "If You're Going Through Hell." It has gotten me through many days where I wanted to give up on certain things in my life. What inspired this song for you and what does it mean to you today?
A. | I think it's about being human and struggling and rising above bad times or mistakes you've made. It's really a song about hope. It's about not giving up. I've heard so many stories from folks about how that song touched their lives - from military families to people with serious illnesses, people dealing with lost jobs, even people contemplating suicide. Music is powerful. It's why I wanted to do this in the beginning and why I hope to do it forever.

Q. | Were you surprised by the song's success?
A. | I think the songs on the "Going Through Hell" album are life songs. They are songs about real life and it wasn't an attempt for me to be cool or hip. I think there are a lot of folks who live lives pretty similar to mine. I think they are intelligent songs about everyday things. They are songs about celebrating life and the struggles in life - good and the bad.

Q. | What inspired your songwriting for your new album, "It's America?" What was going on in your life when you wrote these new songs?
A. | "Going Through Hell" was the first time I decided to really just follow my heart when picking songs. It gave me the confidence to trust myself and try to make the music that speaks to me and represents who I am. That has been my mindset for this album as well. I want my music to be a celebration of life, the ups and downs.

Q. | Have you chosen the first single?
A. | The first single, "It's America," is a fist-pumping celebration of what life is, here.

Q. | What are your hopes for your new album?
A. | My goal has always been and continues to be to make music that touches people's lives.