An acquaintance of Rodney Atkins once told the country singer that he couldn't sing pop even if his mouth was full of bubble gum.
"I'm kinda proud of that," he laughs, getting a kick out of the memory. It's true, though: you certainly can't miss the southern drawl in the Nashville performer's voice, one that carries every nuance of a childhood growing up in Knoxville, Tenn.
He's a country boy through and through, and if you missed it in the accent, you can certainly tell by the song titles - These Are My People, Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy), Farmer's Daughter and Take a Back Road, all chart hits, all completely devoted to connecting with a rural audience.
"The funny thing is that I don't actually think in terms of a format, or a genre," insists Atkins, who plays the Queen City Ex on Sunday. "I think it was Waylon Jennings who once said that 'It ain't the song, it's the singer.' That's how I look at things. I mean, I've got a song coming out on my next record that, if I was going to describe it, reminds me of Bob Dylan meets Coldplay, but with my voice on top of it. You just can't force that kind of thing."
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