RANCHO CUCAMONGA: Rodney Atkins opens up about shy roots

As a young boy growing up near the Tennessee and Kentucky borders, country star Rodney Atkins would sing when he thought nobody was listening.

But people heard and took note of Atkins’ vocal skills and talent.

“My parents told me they would hear me singing when I was gathering firewood or mowing the lawn,” Atkins said during a recent phone interview. “I really didn’t think anyone could hear me.”

Atkins, who will perform at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Rancho Cucamonga on Friday, said he was too shy to sing in front of anyone and felt people probably didn’t want to hear him.

His deep and rich voice woven into catchy tunes has garnered him a legion of loyal fans.

A high school girlfriend bought him his first guitar, and the breakup that followed inspired him to start writing songs. With a broken heart, and living in an area where there wasn’t much to do but go fishing and play music, Atkins said that’s exactly what he did.

In college he graduated to playing at fraternity parties and performing at clubs for tips, all the while inching closer to Nashville, Tenn., where many country artists roost to write and fine-tune their craft.

Atkins said he has fond memories of singing at the famed Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and being a part of writers’ groups and networking with other musicians.

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