How Rodney Atkins + the Fisk Jubillee Singers Joined for ‘Caught Up in the Country’
It's not an obvious collaboration, but Rodney Atkins' mix with the Fisk Jubilee Singers on his new song "Caught Up In the Country" relies on a mutual love of faith and music.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers are a world-renowned group of students from Fisk University in Nashville. Atkins met the group when he was invited to perform a song called "Working on a Building" with them at an event at the Ryman Auditorium in 2017.
“We went to rehearsal and they started clapping, dancing, tambourines flying and it was authentic," he recalls. "It was so real. I looked at my wife and she’s got tears in her eyes. It was incredible.”
The special way the group mixes dancing and clapping into their spiritual music is reminiscent of how Atkins grew up. His father was choir director at a very small Baptist church, and he says the students at Fisk were who his hometown choir was trying to be, in a roundabout way.
“I think every choir would love to sound like that," the 49-year-old says, laughing.
One month after the experience at the Ryman, a publisher sent "Caught Up In the Country" to Atkins, and upon his second listen it hit him that he needed to work with the Fisk Jubilee Singers again. Their presence is felt at the chorus, but more heavily as the song reaches its zenith over a more driving drum beat during the final half of the track. It's a recently unmatched combination of two genres — check out Atkins' behind the scenes video of how the studio session went below, including how the Fisk Jubilee Singers are the real reason Nashville is known as Music City.
As he works on a full-length album, Atkins says he'll use the same process he used on past albums. Previously the 2018 Taste of Country Festival performer told Taste of Country that one difference between this project and his last is this was a much more hands on experience.
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