April 1, 2009 — With songs such as "Watching You" and "Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)," Rodney Atkins put the emphasis in his last album on home and family. So it's only appropriate that when he came back to make his new CD, It's America, he did what worked the last time around: He recorded the vocals at home.
He obtained the sound with a microphone he bought for a scant $200 on eBay in a small room lined with cushy, sound-absorbent material that was intended for something completely different.
"We put some of that camping foam — the stuff you put under your sleeping bag — up on the wall, set up the microphone and started doing vocals for If You're Going Through Hell," he told The Arizona Daily Star. "It was a lot more inexpensive than the conventional record-making process. We realized it came down to the songs, and it allowed me to spend the time to really w ork on the stuff and record the songs under the radar without anybody kind of knowing what we were doing."
This time around, Rodney's label kept closer tabs on his progress. After all, with the success of the last album, Curb Records has high expectations for the new project. And in some ways, Rodney thinks the quality might actually surpass Hell, which launched four No. 1 hits.
"I think sonically it's better," he said. "We pushed the envelope some, groove-wise. We experimented with some grooves and tempos, but it's still the same subject matter. We didn't want to change that."
The first single, "It's America," is already at No. 5 on the USA Today Mediabase country chart. On Thursday, Rodney's slated to perform at the GAC-sponsored Country Thunder festival in Florence, Ariz. Also on the bill: Montgomery Gentry, Keith Anderson, Little Big Town, Williams & Ree and the Zac Brown Band.