Former Country Star Now Cheers on Son

Life seems to be interesting for Rhett Akins.

Rhett Akins

Rhett Akins

Back in the mid ’90s, Rhett was a promosing new country artist. He had a top three single and a follow up single that went #1 on the charts. Life was good for a few years and then his career kind of faded as happens with most country artists at some point. Only a few survive with the changing of the ranks.

But Rhett found a different niche. In the ’00s and into today he has become one of the most sought after songwriters in the business. He’s had some huge hits with other artist and life appears to be going great.

And now there’s a new interesting aspect to Rhett’s life. His song, Thomas Rhett Akins Jr. is starting his own career in country music.

Rhett Akins: Rising Country Star

Rhett moved to Nashville in his early 20s. The moved proved to be a great choice for a young man with loads of talent. I can always respect someone that takes a chance even if they have a young bride and child to care for (more on that later).

Rhett arrived in Nashville in 1992 and in 1994 signed his first recording contract with Decca. He had been singing demos, but proved his worth and soon recorded his first album.

The first single What They’re Talkin’ About reached the top 40 on the charts. Not bad for a first single, but not great either. For the record, I like the song.

His next single entered the top 40 and stalled as well. it was a turning point for the new artist. It was not unusual for a record company to release a third single without a proven hit back then. It’s pretty rare now. There seems to be faith lost too early in the game for new country artists today, but it was a good thing Decca saw potential in Rhett because his third single became a huge hit.

The song was That Ain’t My Truck.

You know the song. It’s played on country radio all the time still today. It’s a great song with a great hook and melody. It’s country in every sense of the word as the song tells the story of a guy that’s realized his new flame is actually falling for someone else.

Rhett followed this single up with another top 20 hit and then his sophomore record in 1996. That album spawned Rhett’s first and only #1 song (up to this point) as an artist. Don’t Get Me Started is another great song. It’s still popular on radio as well.

A second single from the album reached the top 40 on the charts and then Rhett’s career faded never again seeing the top 40 as a singer.

Rhett Akins: Songwriter

Rhett continued recording for various independent labels over the next few years. He continued touring and being part of country music scene. It’s not uncommon for artists to have a few big hits and then kind of fade. It’s just part of the game.

But by the middle of the 2000s, Rhett had found a new niche. Somewhere around 2007 or so Rhett started appearing as a credited songwriter on many of country’s biggest hits. Most of these songs were collaborations with his two good buddies Ben Hayslip and Dallas Davidson. The songwriting trio now calls themselves the Peach Pickers (Georgia boys).

A few of the songs Rhett has co-written include:

  • Put a Girl In It – Brooks & Dunn
  • Gimmie That Girl – Joe Nichols
  • Honey Bee – Blake Shelton
  • All About Tonight – Blake Shelton
  • Farmer’s Daughter – Rodney Atkins

There have been many more including hits for Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, and many others.

Rhett Akins is probably more well known as a songwriter now than he ever was a country artist. It has to be an interesting thought for someone that has seen the charts himself. The story is similar to a few others in country music including David Lee Murphy and Shane Minor.

It appears like Rhett will continue being of the biggest songwriters in country music. He’s also working on various projects with his hunting buddies like Michael Waddell. Rhett is a frequent guest on various hunting shows. As a deer hunter myself, I love any country artist that loves getting out in the woods and doing some bow hunting.

Thomas Rhett

Starting in 2011, something even interesting happened to Rhett Akins once again.

Remember how Rhett packed up his family including wife and child and moved to Nashville in 1992? Well, that child is Thomas Rhett Akins Jr. He was just a toddler at the time. But now he’s all grown up and kind of stumbled into country music himself.

Thomas Rhett (the label dropped the Akins so things wouldn’t be confused with Trace and Rodney and Papa Akins) has been writing songs for a couple years. He had a cut on Jason Aldean’s last record, Ain’t Ready to Quit. The song is awesome. It’s too bad it won’t be released as a single. Maybe TR will cut the song, though on his upcoming debut album.

Anyway, Thomas Rhett was signed to The Valory Music Co., which has artists like Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert on its roster as well as having the same executive that launched Taylor Swift. Thomas Rhett went out on tour with Brantley Gilbert in late 2011 and now the first single is on the charts.

Something To Do With My Hands is already in the top 40 on the charts. Thomas Rhett is quickly following his dad’s footsteps.

In the few interviews I’ve seen around it seems like Rhett and his son get along really well. They are dad and son and possibly buddies as well. Rhett seems genuinely happy for his son.

Thomas Rhett as a little ways to go to accomplish what the old man has, but it’s possible it could happen.

The Future

Rhett Akins should still have a relevant future in country music. I’m sure he’ll continue having hit records with his songwriting for other artists. The Peach Pickers have to be one of, if not the, most sought after songwriters in the business right now. They are hot and their songs are defining country music today.

I’m sure as Thomas Rhett’s career takes off (I think he’ll be one of the biggest stories of 2012). There might even be interest from fans to hear some new music from Rhett. He’s been putting out music of his own once in a while the last couple years. He’s still only in his 40s. There is plenty of time to have a few more hits.

Rhett Akins is a great country success story. There have been a few ups and downs over the years, but things are going really well for him right now.

Let’s hope there are a few more hit singles of his own in the coming years.

You know dads and sons always have bets with each other.

Let’s see who wins the next one.

Dayne Shuda

Founder of Country Music Life. Follow on Twitter: @dayneshuda Follow on Google+: Dayne Shuda

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  1. says

    I just found this website, and I am totally digging it. Shuda seems to have a real grasp about what good music and writing is. It’s great to see, because so many people in the world today don’t have a clue.

    Rhett Akins is my number one dude, always has been. Singer and songwriter, one of the best. Thomas Rhett, obviously following too, and he’s gonna blow. I also read the review of 1994, and it was spot on. Loving this site, mostly cause Shuda seems to really know what he is talking about.

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