“Caught Up in the Country” is the lead single from what will be Atkins’ first collection of new music in seven years. The project started in 2014, and he says his wife and fellow artist, Rose Falcon, was the creative catalyst that set his next album in motion. She sings on every song and they will tour together with their four-month-old son, Ryder Falcon Atkins.
He joins Elijah, Atkins’ oldest son and his video co-star for his breakout hit, “Watching You.”
“I’m much more patient now,” Atkins said of becoming a dad again. “But it’s absolutely like I’ve never done this before.”
Atkins did get candid with Cook about why he hasn’t released new music in almost a decade.
In November 2011, he was arrested and accused of assault by his former wife and Elijah’s mother, Tammy Jo McDonald. He was eventually cleared, and the couple later divorced. When Cook asked for his side of the story, he said he didn’t know how much he could talk about it.
“I just kinda chose to let the truth reveal itself over time, and obviously all that stuff was removed, and dropped and I think the truth did come out,” he said. “I tried not to get caught up in [it]. It really sucks when you’re afraid to turn on the news and then you got different people voicing their [opinions] because that’s what they do. They don’t know.”
With past grievances behind him, Atkins believes his life couldn’t be in a better place. “I like to live in this moment, right here where I am,” he said. “Don’t rush it; I don’t wish I were somewhere else. And that’s really what I wish for, is to be where I am.”
More from Atkins’ interview will air on all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown premiering April 21-22 at 9 a.m. ET.