Is Rhett Akins related to Rodney Atkins? The Truth Behind the Country Music Stars

Country music fans may wonder if there is any family connection between two of the genre’s popular singers, Rhett Akins and Rodney Atkins. Both share the same last name, have similar musical styles, and have achieved success as solo artists and songwriters. However, despite these similarities, the two are not related by blood or marriage.

Rhett Akins: The Father of a Country Star

Rhett Akins was born on October 13, 1969, in Valdosta, Georgia, to Pamela LaHood and Thomas Akins. According to Wikipedia, his grandfather George LaHood was of Lebanese origin. By age 11, he and his two younger brothers had formed a band. Rhett played football at the University of Georgia and studied business but gave up his studies after a year. He then worked for his father’s oil and gas distribution company.

In 1992, after performing in the theme park show “Music Country Music” at Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas, Akins moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and performed in “Country Music USA” at Opryland Theme Park. Akins then became a demo singer before Decca Records signed him to a recording contract.

Akins’s first single was “What They’re Talkin’ About”, a No. 35 on the Billboard country charts in late 1994, followed by the No. 36 “I Brake for Brunettes”. After these first two singles came his signature song, “That Ain’t My Truck”. This was his breakthrough hit, peaking at No. 3 on the country charts in mid-1995. All three of these songs were included on his 1995 debut album A Thousand Memories, which also produced the No. 17 “She Said Yes”. Also in 1995 and 1996, Akins toured with Reba McEntire.

Akins’ second album, Somebody New, produced his only number one hit in “Don’t Get Me Started”, which peaked in August 1996. He released two more albums for Decca and MCA Nashville before switching to Audium Entertainment in 2002. His last charting single as a solo artist was “Kiss My Country Ass” in 2006.

Although he has not charted a single since 2006, Akins has written singles for other country music singers, primarily as one-third of the songwriting team The Peach Pickers, alongside Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip. Akins has had 31 No. 1 singles (and counting), which is remarkable! Some of them include Luke Bryan’s “I Don’t Want This Night to End” and “Huntin’ Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day”, Chris Young’s “I Can Take it From There”, Justin Moore’s “Point at You”, Dustin Lynch’s “Mindreader” and Locash’s “I Know Somebody”. Akins is also responsible for Blake Shelton’s “All About Tonight”, “Boys ‘Round Here” and “Honey Bee”, Jason Aldean’s “When She Says Baby”, “Just Gettin’ Started” and “Tonight Looks Good on You”, and Thomas Rhett’s “It Goes Like This”, “Get Me Some of That” and “Star Of The Show”.

Akins’s son, Thomas Rhett, is also a singer who has followed his father’s footsteps in country music. Thomas Rhett was born on March 30, 1990, and is named after his father’s first and middle names. Initially, Thomas Rhett wanted to pursue a career in business like his father did before music, but he changed his mind after playing drums for his father on stage. With country music already having a Rhett Akins, a Chet Atkins, a Trace Adkins, and a Rodney Atkins, Akins advised his son to adopt his first and middle names for the stage: Thomas Rhett.

Thomas Rhett signed with Big Machine Records’ Valory Music Group division in 2011. He released his debut single “Something to Do with My Hands” in February 2012. His second single “Beer with Jesus” became his first Top 20 hit later that year. His third single “It Goes Like This” was released in May 2013 and became his first No. 1 hit in November 2013. It also became the title track to his debut album It Goes Like This, which was released on October 29, 2013.

Thomas Rhett has since released four more albums: Tangled Up (2015), Life Changes (2017), Center Point Road (2019), and Country Again: Side A (2021). He has also scored fifteen No. 1 singles as of June 2021, including “Die a Happy Man”, “Craving You”, “Marry Me”, “Look What God Gave Her”, and “What’s Your Country Song”. He has also collaborated with artists such as Maren Morris, Jon Pardi, Brett Young, and Kane Brown.

Thomas Rhett married Lauren Akins, his childhood sweetheart, on October 12, 2012. They have three daughters: Willa Gray, whom they adopted from Uganda in May 2017, Ada James, who was born in August 2017, and Lennon Love, who was born in February 2020.

Rhett Akins and Thomas Rhett are one of the only, if not the only, father and son working independently in country music. They have also co-written several songs together, such as “I Ain’t Ready to Quit”, “Front Porch Junkies”, “All American Middle Class White Boy”, and “Drink a Little Beer”. They have also performed together on stage and on television, such as at the 2013 CMA Music Festival and on the 2016 CMA Country Christmas special.

Rodney Atkins: The Adopted Son of a Coal Miner

Rodney Atkins was born on March 28, 1969, in Knoxville, Tennessee. His biological mother, who was 19 at the time, became pregnant with him after a “traumatic first date”. She hid the pregnancy from her parents and put him up for adoption at the Holston United Methodist Home for Children in Greeneville, Tennessee. His first adoptive parents, Charles Hutchins and Linda Weems, returned him to the home after he developed a major respiratory infection. Allan and Margaret Atkins, who had lost a newborn about a year prior, inquired after the child, but decided not to proceed due to surgery that Margaret had just undergone. Meanwhile, another couple adopted him, but also returned him soon after when he developed colic. After Margaret Atkins recovered, she proceeded to adopt him.

Atkins did not meet his biological mother until 2008, and has never revealed her identity. The Atkins family moved frequently in his youth, eventually settling in Claiborne County, Tennessee. He attended high school at Powell Valley High in Speedwell, Tennessee. During high school, Atkins played guitar in his spare time at events and festivals.

Atkins went to college at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tennessee. He used to drive an hour each way to Nashville to perform at writers’ nights. He was eventually spotted by a staff writer from Curb Records who had attended one of his performances. He signed with Curb Records in 1996.

Atkins’s first single was “In a Heartbeat”, which peaked at No. 74 on the Billboard country charts in 1997. He did not release another single until late 2002 when he released “Sing Along”, which failed to chart. His debut album Honesty was finally released in 2003. It included the hit single “Honesty (Write Me a List)”, which reached No. 4 on the country charts in early 2004.

Atkins’s second album If You’re Going Through Hell was released in July 2006. It produced four consecutive No. 1 singles: “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)”, “Watching You”, “These Are My People”, and “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)”. The first two singles were respectively ranked as the top country songs of 2006 and 2007 according to Billboard Year-End. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA for selling over one million copies.

Atkins’s third album It’s America was released in March 2009. It included the No. 1 single “It’s America” and the Top 5 hit “Farmer’s Daughter”, which was added to a later reissue of the album. The album was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over half a million copies.

Atkins’s fourth album Take a Back Road was released in October 2011. It produced his sixth No. 1 single in its title track, which became his fastest-rising single to date. The album also spawned three more Top 20 hits: “He’s Mine”, “Just Wanna Rock N’ Roll”, and “Doin’ It Right”.

Atkins’s fifth album Caught Up in the Country was released in May 2019. It set a record for the longest run on the country singles charts with its title track, which spent a total of 57 weeks on the chart before peaking at No. 20 in August 2020.

Atkins married Tammy Jo McDonald in November 1998. They have one son together: Elijah Atkins, who was born in September 2001. Atkins filed for divorce from McDonald in April 2012 after she allegedly tried to smother him with a pillow while he was sleeping. The divorce was finalized later that year.

Atkins married Rose Falcon, a singer-songwriter and daughter of singer Billy Falcon, on November 10, 2013. They

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