SAUK RAPIDS -- Rodney Atkins will be making a stop on his tour here in Sauk Rapids next weekend.

Atkins' list of songs includes six number one hits, which isn't bad for a guy who initially didn't intend to be on stage.

My initial goal was to try to come to Nashville as a songwriter.  I was too shy.  The first several times when I tried to get up and sing in front of people, I'd be so nervous I'd have a glass of water and I'd shake the water out of the glass before I could even get a drink.

Atkins says he realized that if he's not singing at people, if he writes songs people can sing along with, then he can do that. He says he eventually got enough courage to audition for an executive at Curb Records early one morning.

The next day I had a record deal.  That was 1996, and then a 'short' 10 years later is when we had "When You're Going Through Hell".

He says he still remembers exactly where he was when he heard his first song on the radio.

I was selling firewood [at the time], and I had my truck door open with the radio on and I was out there splitting wood and loading it on to a flatbed to deliver it to customers.

Atkins says one of his customers at the time was Alan Jackson.

His number one songs include: "Watching You", "It's America", "These Are My People".

Rodney Atkins, credit JosephMikos

Atkins has a new song out this summer called "Caught Up in the Country", and he is hoping to release his first full album since 2011 this November.  He says -- at this point -- the new song is doing better than any other single he's released.

Atkins will be the headliner next Saturday, September 8th at the Sauk Rapids Fire Department Relief Association Dance at Rollie's. He'll take the stage at about 9:00 p.m., tickets are still available.

Atkins performed earlier this month up at WeFest in Detroit Lakes.  He plays between 70 and 80 dates a year right now.

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