Rodney Atkins, Rose Falcon bring husband-and-wife duo ‘Rod + Rose’ to City Winery

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Rodney Atkins & Rose Falcon at City Winery (Part 1)

Individually, Rodney Atkins recorded a string of chart-topping country music hits, while his wife Rose Falcon wrote several hit songs for the likes of Faith Hill and Lady A.

Together, they form the duo Rod + Rose at City Winery in Northeast D.C. on April 21.

“We’re going to do some Rodney, some Rod + Rose, some me,” Falcon told WTOP. “People are going to get to hear Rodney songs that they know and love in this small setting that’s kind of unusual. He doesn’t usually get to tell a bunch of stories about the song, that’s what’s going to happen. We’ll also do songs off our new EP, ‘Rod + Rose.'”

The album was inspired by spending time together during the pandemic.

“Rose is a blue-collar songwriter,” Atkins said. “Writing songs is her passion. … It’s hard for us to get dates to write together. That’s what you call it when people write together: a ‘writing date.’ … During the pandemic, she was stuck with me! We did a video duet … and the head of my record label … said, ‘Rodney, you and Rose should do a project together.'”

It’s the latest venture for Rose, who grew up in New York before moving to Nashville at age 10, and Atkins, who grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, before landing in Nashville. The latter signed with Curb Records in 1996, leading to his hit second album, “If You’re Going Through Hell” (2006), featuring an inspiring title track that went all the way to No. 1.

“I got an email from a guy who said, ‘I was in the parking lot on my church, I had lost my job, my wife … I had a pistol in my hand,” Atkins said. “On the radio, a song came on, it got my attention, I turned it up and it was ‘If You’re Going Through Hell.’ That was 25 minutes ago, I’m home now and that pistol is at the bottom of the river. You saved my life.'”

The album’s second No.1 hit was the adorable fatherhood tune “Watching You.”

“My son when he was 4 was in the lunch line at school, teacher said they were supposed to be quiet but heard a little boy singing, ‘If you’re going through hell, keep on going!'” Atkins said. “I wound up writing a song based on ‘my four year old said a four-letter word.’ … It’s very important for us to make mistakes in front of our kids and correct our mistakes.”

The album’s third No. 1 hit was the hilarious “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy).”

“I went to see a girl, I got my driver’s license, her dad was over with a .357 shooting bottle caps when I pulled into the driveway. He said, ‘Come here, we need to talk,'” Atkins said. “People send me pictures of them, their daughters and their dates and they’ll be holding a gun — it’s all in good fun. I don’t know if you could get away with a song like that today.”

The album’s fourth No. 1 hit was “These Are My People,” followed by two more albums whose title tracks became No. 1 hits, “It’s America” (2009) and “Take a Back Road” (2011).

“A lot of my songs have that message, that human part,” Atkins said. “‘Take a Back Road’ is about being in a traffic jam, you keep working, you get through it. ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ is you got this job you don’t like, but you keep working, keep pushing, you get through it, you meet the girl. ‘These Are My People,’ I love the line, ‘It ain’t always pretty, but it’s real.'”

Around the same time, Falcon was working hard in Nashville, writing the Faith Hill song “Give In to Me” for the movie soundtrack “Country Strong” (2010). She also wrote “Friday Night” for Lady A in 2011, which was later cut again by Eric Pasley in 2013.

Rose and Atkins married in 2013 and have had two sons together, Ryder and Scout.

“We just set out on trying to write and record tunes that are about real love and real relationships,” Atkins said. “It’s not always blue skies. … Real love is tough and hard work and the most rewarding thing that you can ever be a part of. We just wanted to have some songs about real love like that, so we dug in to try to write some tunes that had some grit.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Rodney Atkins & Rose Falcon at City Winery (Part 2)

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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