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The country star's new single, "Just Wanna Rock 'N Roll," follows suit. "Rodney Clawson wrote that song. It's about your happy switch," says Atkins. "You choose to be happy, and in life we have as many good days as bad days. I try to find and record those songs that pull you through the bad days, and keep you believing that the good days are just around the corner.
"Sometimes it's just a matter of singing [Atkins sings] 'oh, oh, oh' when you feel that thing in your head, where you're stressed out or messed up. It's crazy, but it works. It carries you through some tough times. I see the crowd singing 'Rock 'N Roll' or 'Back Road' at my concerts ... they are anthems and they lift up your life."
The country star says "Take a Back Road" is one of those songs that he feels very lucky to have been able to record. "I got the work tape from Rhett Akins, and it was the wackiest little demo," he recalls. "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."
The singer believes it is the simplicity of these songs in delivering the positive message that makes people identify with them. "You can over explain stuff sometimes, but that's not necessarily what everyone will relate to. You try to write something different, something that you hope has not been written before in the way you write it, something that will appeal to a lot of people. Just don't over think it."