Editors’ Notes On “Take a Back Road,” from 2011, Rodney Atkins pays tribute to the country songs that make one appreciate living in the sticks, shouting out George Strait amid gentle twang and soulful vocals. Since debuting in the mid-‘90s, Atkins himself has mastered this exact sort of tune, singing lyrics that describe the staples of rural life as well as the sublime pleasures that transcend them. “Farmer's Daughter” finds him telling the story of a man falling in love with a beautiful woman while cooling off in a creek, and on “Watching You,” he portrays the connection between a father and his son with all the elegance of Strait himself.

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