In 2006, Rodney Atkins earned his first No. 1 song with "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)," the title track of his sophomore album. Written by Dave Berg, along with husband-and-wife songwriting team Sam and Annie Tate, the song takes its inspiration from a famous Winston Churchill quote and a well-known Irish toast.

The No. 1 country song for all of 2006, "If You're Going Through Hell" was nominated for Song of the Year at the ACM Awards. More importantly, Atkins told The Boot in 2018, a fan once revealed to the singer that the song kept him from taking his own life life.

That song, Atkins says, encompasses the whole point of country music: to let listeners know that, whatever they're feeling or going through, someone else has been there, and it'll be okay. Read on as Atkins explains how he defines country music, in his own words.

What is country music? Country music is -- it's music that is relatable, and to make you feel like, whatever you're going through, you're not alone, that somebody else has gone through it, or is going through, and it'll be okay on the other side.

98.1 Minnesota's New Country logo
Enter your number to get our free mobile app

It's a connection between the ground and the sky -- that's what country music is.

10 Essential Albums for Your Country Music Education

More From 98.1 Minnesota's New Country