Rodney Atkins and Rascal Flatts got to relax a bit this week before CMA Music Festival officially kicks off Thursday.
Atkins celebrated "It's America," his fifth No. 1 song, on Monday with a party at ASCAP, and Rascal Flatts commemorated "Here Comes Goodbye," their 10th chart topper, with a shindig at Cabana on Tuesday.
Atkins' "It's America," written by Brett James and Angelo Petraglia, was No. 1 on Billboard's country singles chart for two weeks in early May.
Atkins' wife, Tammy Jo, son Elijah, parents and members of his extended family joined the industry crowd at ASCAP, where James and Petraglia accepted plaques, certificates and trophies from their respective publishing companies as well as the Country Music Association, Country Radio Broadcasters and others.
Atkins said he was honored to see the songwriters get the recognition. "The songwriters in Music City are what makes this town Music City," he said.
The song came to Atkins from an unlikely source — his drummer and bandleader Kevin Rapillo. Atkins' album was already complete when Petraglia, a longtime friend of Rapillo's, e-mailed him a copy of "It's America." Petraglia and James had just finished writing the song and thought it would be perfect for Atkins. Rapillo agreed and played it for Atkins — something Rapillo said he never does.
Atkins liked the song so much he recorded it a couple of days later, and played it on the CMA Awards two weeks after that.