Rodney Atkins Preps First Greatest Hits Album

Twelve-track collection spans a decade of hits that came after a rocky career start

Rodney Atkins performs at his annual charity benefit show in Nashville. Credit: Frederick Breedon IV/Getty Images

Rodney Atkins will release his first greatest hits collection in February. The album will include his six chart-toppers: "If You're Going Thru Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)," "Watching You," "These Are My People," "Cleaning This Gun (Come On in Boy)," "It's America" and "Take a Back Road." The other half-dozen tracks span the last ten years of the country singer's career, with the newest being his latest single, "East Sleep Love You Repeat," written by Ryan Bizarri and Walker Hayes (who's also on backup vocals). Hear the song below.

Atkins' career has been one of persistence. He signed with Curb Records in 1996, the very same week that the label also signed LeAnn Rimes. But while Rimes had an almost immediate hit with the multi-platinum selling "Blue," Atkins' first single stalled in the 70s and second single didn't even chart. It was another five years before he had a song in the Top 40, and his first Top 10 came more than seven years after inking his record deal.

"I remember crossing paths with the Dixie Chicks on a radio tour," he tells the Washington Post, recalling his first few, disappointing years. "They were really nice, saying, 'We've heard about you. Great things are going to happen for you.' Then they exploded, while I'm just sitting here doing the same thing, scratching my butt.... I also saw artists get signed over and over, and then they'd get frustrated, quit. But they never really took the bull by the horns. I wanted to do everything I possibly could to make this happen."

The East Tennessee native finally catapulted to A-list country status with the release of "If You're Going Thru Hell," his first Number One and the most-played country tune of 2006, according to Billboard. He held onto those bragging rights again the following year, as "Watching You" —a song inspired by his son, Elijah — was the most-played country track of 2007.

Rodney Atkins — Greatest Hits will hit stores February 3rd and is available for pre-order now.

Rodney Atkins – Greatest Hits track list:

1. "If You're Going Thru Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)"
2. "Watching You"
3. "These Are My People"
4. "Cleaning This Gun (Come On in Boy)"
5. "Take a Back Road"
6. "Farmer's Daughter"
7. "It's America"
8. "Invisibly Shaken"
9. "Honesty (Write Me a List)"
10. "He's Mine"
11. "About the South"
12. "Eat Sleep Love You Repeat"