Thomas Rhett has earned his 17th No. 1 hit with “What’s Your Country Song,” as the track tops Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart and Hot Country Songs Chart this week.
“I can hardly wrap my mind around seventeen…what an unreal way to kick off this new chapter of music,” Rhett said via a statement. “I’m so grateful to the fans and radio for reacting to this one right away after I played a little of it on Instagram basically a year ago – it’s crazy to see it all come full circle. I cannot wait to share the rest with y’all!”
“What’s Your Country Song,” which Rhett wrote alongside Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley and Parker Welling, celebrates those radio hits that made an impact, the songs that serve as soundtracks to the moments you’ll never forget.
Rhett’s latest No. 1 hit namechecks no less than 16 country classics, including Alan Jackson’s 2002 hit “Drive (for Daddy Gene),” Hank Williams, Jr.’s 1979 hit “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound,” Alabama’s “Dixieland Delight,” Ricky Skaggs’ “Heartbroke,” and incorporates a nod to Thomas Rhett’s own father, hit songwriter Rhett Akins, by incorporating a nod to Akins’ enduring 1995 hit “That Ain’t My Truck.”
“What’s Your Country Song” is the first taste of Thomas Rhett’s upcoming double album, with Country Again: Side A , set to release on April 30. He’s also shared two more songs off the upcoming album with “Growing Up” and “Want It Again.”
For Rhett, these songs represent more than just the results of the extra time artists have had to focus on songwriting over the past year after the pandemic has halted touring—the songs mark a change from focusing on simply making music that can compete in the marketplace, to focusing on the kind of music he wants to make.
“This shift in me has been happening since the beginning of 2019,” he recently said during an interview with Kelleigh Bannen on the Apple Music Radio show Today’s Country with Kelleigh Bannen.
“There were just certain things in my life that I cared about so heavily for the last decade that I just didn’t… I don’t want to say I didn’t care about anymore, but I cared way less about them,” he said. “There were just bits of success and bits of ways that I measured success that just didn’t matter anymore. It was just like I’ve been doing nothing but grinding and working my butt off and comparing myself, just like we all do, and then there was one day where I was just like, ‘Why do I care? Why do I always chase something? You know, with a lot of these records that I make.’
“The music just started to kind of shift into something that I was trying to do when I was younger, as a 19-year-old who had just signed a publishing deal, but I hadn’t lived enough life yet, you know? There are so many things that have happened in this decade that I have never really written songs about,” he continued. “I mean I’ve been nostalgic for sure in my music, but it’s 11 songs that I feel like are just so much more back to what I was doing when I first started out in this business, like back in the day when I was listening to nothing but Eric Church, and really wanting just to be him, you know, minus the sunglasses. I don’t think I can pull those off, ever.”
Last year, Thomas Rhett won the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year honor alongside Carrie Underwood, and on April 18, he will vie to retain his win against fellow nominees Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs and Chris Stapleton when the 56th annual ACM Awards airs on CBS.