Take a Back Road (song)

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"Take a Back Road"
Single by Rodney Atkins
from the album Take a Back Road
Released April 25, 2011 (2011-04-25)
Format Music download
Genre Country
Length 3:29
Label Curb
Writer(s) Rhett Akins
Luke Laird
Producer(s) Ted Hewitt
Rodney Atkins singles chronology
"Farmer's Daughter"
"Take a Back Road"
"He's Mine"

"Take a Back Road" is a song written by Rhett Akins and Luke Laird, and recorded by American country music singer Rodney Atkins. It was released in April 2011 as the 17th single of his career, and the first single and title track from his album Take a Back Road.

Background and writing[edit]

Rhett Akins and Luke Laird wrote the song. Akins came up with the song's title after hearing a friend say that listening to a Hank Williams, Jr. album made him "want to ride a dirt road right now." Laird had come up with a drum loop to which he could not think of any lyrics, and Akins recommended the hook. The two of them changed the line to "take a back road" and decided to give it a rhythmic phrasing.[1]


The song is about a man who is stuck on a freeway in a traffic jam. He then hears a George Strait song from 1982 and it makes him want to drive down a country road.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Giving it four stars out of five, Matt Bjorke of Roughstock called it "the perfect song to listen to when feeling like ‘escaping’ the pressures of the world for a few minutes".[3] Kevin John Coyne, reviewing the song for Country Universe, gave it a C+ rating. Coyne states that everyone already knew what the song was going to be about and that he gave it a "bonus + for rhyming gravel with travel." [4] Steve Leggett of Allmusic called it "one of the summer’s most memorable singles (complete with a George Strait name check)."[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Andy Tennant and premiered in September 2011. It was filmed on Interstate 65 near Nashville, Tennessee and in Carthage, Tennessee.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 23
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[8] 48

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 90
Preceded by
"Barefoot Blue Jean Night"
by Jake Owen
Billboard Hot Country Songs
number-one single

October 1-8, 2011
Succeeded by
"Made in America"
by Toby Keith


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[11] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Conaway, Alanna (April 11, 2011). "Rodney Atkins, 'Take a Back Road' – Lyrics Uncovered". Taste of Country. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Hensel, Amanda (April 8, 2011). "Rodney Atkins, 'Take a Back Road' – Song Spotlight". Taste of Country. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  3. ^ Bjorke, Matt (May 13, 2011). "Rodney Atkins - "Take A Back Road"". Roughstock. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  4. ^ Coyne, Kevin John (May 30, 2011). "5 Five-Second Single Reviews: Laura Alaina, Rodney Atkins, Sara Evans, Joe Nichols, Kellie Pickler". Country Universe. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  5. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Takea Back Road - Rodney Atkins". Allmusic. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Rodney Atkins – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Rodney Atkins.
  7. ^ "Rodney Atkins – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Rodney Atkins.
  8. ^ "Rodney Atkins – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Rodney Atkins.
  9. ^ "Best of 2011: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Best of 2011: Hot 100 Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 
  11. ^ "American single certifications – Rodney Atkins – Take a Back Road". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 27, 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH