Thomas Rhett must be having the time of his life. His highly anticipated debut album, It Goes Like This, was released Tuesday (Oct. 29), while the album's title track -- Rhett's third single -- has reigned atop the Billboard country songs chart for three consecutive weeks.
"You put out your first single and you hope it does what it does," Rhett said to CMT Hot 20 Countdown. "For me, ["Something to Do With My Hands"] went to No. 15 and sold however many it sold. Then we put out 'Beer With Jesus' ... and it allowed me to gain a little bit more of a fan base.
"Then finally on the third one, I think 'It Goes Like This' just kind of messed with everybody. I don't think that one really hit a certain group of country fans. I think it kind of just dispersed to everybody. ... They're like 'All right, this dude's kind of cool. I'll let him in to my circle.'
"But, you know, I kind of enjoy the fact that the first two [singles] did what they did and only went so far on the chart," he continued. "It kind of adds to the story a little bit. I can go back and always tell stories of when I first got onstage and nobody had a clue of the words. Then fast forward a couple years, and I'm playing this song called 'It Goes Like This' in front of 20,000 people, and everybody knows the entire song."
Rhett, who recently finished up on pal Jason Aldean's Night Train tour, says he's looking forward to the fan response to this album after being on the road most of the year.
"Even from the beginning of that tour -- before 'It Goes Like This' came out -- I would notice there would be more and more people every night for us," said Rhett, who held the opening slot on Aldean's show.
"I think back to all the shows I went to as a kid, thinking ... 'Did I care what time the opener went on?' Sometimes as an opener, you walk out there and you wonder 'Man, I wish some more people were here.' But you've got to think they're in the parking lot doing their thing, and they're here to see the headliner.
"But I've totally noticed in the past couple of months there being 100, 200, 300 more people there every night," he said. "It's starting to get really cool as far as even walking out to the sound booth after I get done to watch Jason's show, and people are like, 'Man, love your song. Great show.' That's just a really cool feeling because we do it for those people, and for them to finally start to notice who you are is a really cool thing."
For more from the Thomas Rhett interview, tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown this Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 2-3) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.