Take A Back Road

Album: Take A Back Road (2011)
Charted: 23


  • The lead-off single from American Country music singer Rodney Atkins' fourth album finds the singer looking to leave the stress of the city. It was released on April 26, 2011.
  • The song was written by Rhett Akins, who also co-penned Atkins' previous single, "Farmer's Daughter and Luke Laird, who credits include "Hillbilly Bone" and "So Small amongst others.
  • Atkins explained the song's meaning in an interview with Country Music Rocks: "It's really about leaving the city and busy life to enjoy the country life and do the things and with the people that matter most. Road trips and having a good time."
  • Speaking to The Boot, Atkins recalled that when Akins and Laird demoed the tune to him in their office, his initial reaction was, "This is really cool, it's a great summertime song. Crank the windows down, turn it up!"

    As he listened, Atkins started seeing the picture of what he wanted the cut to sound like. "I kept listening," he added, "and it kept growing and occurring to me that this is a deeper song than what I realized. As you go and listen to it more and more, you realize it actually is a life song. It's an important song."
  • Rhett Akins told Taste of Country that he came up with the song's title after hearing a friend say that listening to a Hank Williams, Jr. album made him, "want to ride a dirt road right now." Laird had come up with a drum loop and melody to which he could not think of any lyrics, and "he loved the idea" as he, "grew up in rural Pennsylvania on a dirt road." The two songwriters changed the line to "take a back road" and decided to give it a rap-style phrasing.
  • The music video was directed by Andy Tennant ("Sweet Home Alabama") and filmed on Interstate 40 near Chattanooga, Tennessee and in Carthage, Tennessee. Atkins spent most of his time on top of a water tower, which he told The Boot, "was a little surreal, because I spent hours at a time up there in the quiet, and it was very secluded." The singer added that he suffers from vertigo, "I lose my equilibrium easily. I can lean out to look at something and just keep leaning and not realize I'm about to fall. So that made it kind of interesting."
  • Atkins told The Boot that he feels grateful to have had the opportunity to record this tune. "I got the work tape from Rhett Akins, and it was the wackiest little demo," he recalled. "Luke Laird was playing that lick on the acoustic guitars. All I know is when I played the song and it was over, I wanted to hit play again.
    I realized the song is about when you're in the gravel, traveling on, moving forward. It lifted me up wherever I was, whether we were in Afghanistan, Detroit, Los Angeles or Nashville. It's a state of mind, it can carry you through tough times, help you forget and realize it's not that bad. It's an anthem just like 'If You're Going Through Hell.' I feel very fortunate and thankful to Rhett and Luke for sending me that song."


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