Country hit-maker Atkins brings show to KCAC stage
March 20, 2013 11:00 AM
by JEREMY HARTLEY
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Rodney Atkins returns to Indiana County Friday on his "More Hits for the Money" tour with his first headlining performance at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.

Atkins previously shared the KCAC stage with rocker Darius Rucker in October 2011. This time, however, he's bringing his own show.

Atkins' tour is currently taking him across the country. He recently wrapped up several shows in Florida, where he took some time to go fishing with his son. But he's prepared himself for the change in climate.

"It's been some diverse temperatures this year," he said during a phone interview, "but it's great, the people are great. I absolutely love to come (to Pennsylvania), find out who's the Phillies fans and who's the Pirates fans."

Atkins has been riding high on a steady string of hits since the release of his first album, "Honesty," in 2003. His most recent album, "Take a Back Road," earned him his sixth No. 1 single with the title track, also winning him the BMI Song of the Year in October.

Atkins explained the tour has been going well, despite the pressures of being on the road.

"So far it's been good," he said. "It's been great to go out and play. I've got the best job in the world. Traveling, as everyone says, is not fun, and I can't wait to get there. It's like all day long, I just can't wait to get up there and play."

According to Atkins, his love of performing is what helps keep him going night after night. Maintaining a desire to play is his preparation for taking the stage.

"I love playing live so much," he said. "I mean, that's what I do. My day, my week, revolves around getting to do that, so it's pretty much all I'm thinking about.

"I don't take it lightly, going out, and you get to become a distraction, I think. Whatever somebody's going through, they can come with their friends and their family and have a good time and just sing along.

"It doesn't take much to get me excited about going out and playing some music," he said.

Fans will be able to hear all of Atkins' hits, plus some other album cuts he didn't get to perform the last time he appeared. Atkins explained that in the Indiana area, many people were requesting the song "Friends with Tractors" from the "It's America" album. The song was never released as a single, yet still struck a chord with the audience.

"You don't always get to play cuts like that," he said. "We didn't get to play before, but we plan on getting to come out to play that song and make a special event out of some of those times we didn't get to play a whole lot."

For Atkins, the audience is everything. In his words, "we're in it together."

"The songs 'These Are My People,' 'If You're Going Through Hell,' 'Watching You,' these songs are not about being perfect, they're songs about being human and we're in it together," he said. "That it's a sense of community. Everywhere we go, whether we're up North or down South, out West, the community's coming together and that's what makes it feel special.

"I love what I get to do. It's not about being famous, it's about relating to people."

Atkins has even been holding meet-and-greets at his shows as a way of staying connected with his audience and giving something back to them. According to Atkins, he and his people have been working on ways to make the meet-and-greets more personal and not simply a rush through a large crowd.

"Because you're just flying through a meet-and-greet a lot of times and I try to make it something where you can have a conversation and say hello to somebody," he said. "I just think it's important.

"It's wild to me that somebody would want to meet you, want to be able to say hello or sign their hat or something. It's another thing I don't take for granted and try to make it special, as special as you can."

Atkins will be joined by performers Josh Thompson and Tyler Farr. The show begins at 8 p.m. at the KCAC. Tickets are available through the KCAC box office, online at www.kovalchickcomplex.com or by phone at (800) 298-4200.

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