Rodney Atkins

It's America

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If following up a breakthrough album isn't challenging enough, following up a breakthrough album that produced four number one singles (in a row) is even more daunting. Just ask Rodney Atkins. After years of struggle, Atkins broke through in a big way with his 2006 sophomore album, If You're Going Through Hell. The singer/songwriter went from delivering firewood to country legend Alan Jackson one year, to opening concert dates for him the next. Heady stuff. And so, armed with a platinum record and enough credibility to draw the cream of the songwriting crop from the Nashville publishing community, Atkins found himself in an enviable position as he headed into the studio for album number three. On It's America, the singer plays it safe and sticks to the same formula used on If You're Going Through Hell. Atkins sounds like he's having a heck of a good time throughout the 11 tracks. Songs like the revved "Tell a Country Boy," the honky tonk mash up "Fifteen Minutes," and the chest-swelling title cut have a ton of heart, even if they do sound a bit calculated. More songs, like the thought-provoking "The River Knows," a steel guitar masterpiece, and less songs, like "Chasing Girls," a cheesy number that should have been left on the cutting room floor, might just make Atkins country music's next superstar. Hopefully the singer will take a few more chances on album number four.

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