Rodney Atkins will headline Edinburg Chamber of Commerce’s 52nd annual Fiesta Edinburg with a performance Friday at H-E-B Park in Edinburg.
Fiesta Edinburg, which runs through Sunday, will also feature Tejano group Los Palominos on Saturday.
“(Fiesta Edinburg) originally started because it was announcing the county seat here in Edinburg, and we’ve been celebrating that ever since,” said DeAnna Garza, director of special events for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. “Every year we get together, we have a carnival, we have kiddie rides; it’s really a family fun event.” Garza says she’s excited to see the show at this year’s Fiesta.
“We picked Rodney because of all his number one hits,” she said. “His music is the most identifiable, it’s one of those where the song comes on and everybody sings along and everybody knows the words. I’m most excited to hear the crowd join in, because the songs are so identifiable that the crowd is bound to have a fantastic time singing along with him.”
Atkins says that’s exactly the vibe he’s going for.
“My goal every night is for everybody to kind of lose track of time and forget where they are, and just sing along. It’s not about some artist, about sitting there and letting me sing to you,” he said. “That is not my goal at all, I couldn’t do it if that’s what I was supposed to be doing. It’s about all of us singing together, losing track of time and forgetting where you are.”
In many ways, Atkins says, that’s the reason he’s a musician.
“I figure if I can make that happen almost every time I play, then it’s worth doing,” he said.
Atkins said that some of his best shows have been a little impromptu, even while he’s playing for the troops in Afghanistan.
“Some of my favorite shows that I’ve done have been in crazy places, with not even a full band, full production. A bunch of those shows are arenas and festivals, some real cool places, but some of them have been impromptu, with just a guitar,” he said. “A Marine’ll wind up having a guitar, and I’ll grab it and wind up playing for 45 minutes, and we’re all just kind of singing together.”
In some ways, Atkins says, his career started off in that casual manner. In 2002 he had just recorded one of his early albums.
“It sold about seven copies. I didn’t really know if I was going to get more music,” he said.
A couple of years later, Atkins went to his home outside of Nashville, determined to record his kind of music.
“I got on Ebay and bought a refurbished laptop, a microphone and this little thing called an Mbox so I could record into the computer. Didn’t know anything about any of that at the time,” he said. “I set it up in the pantry in the house and started trying to sing. Sound bounced all over the walls.”
Atkins went out to his barn, got a bit of foam and went back to the pantry.
“I push-pinned it into the wall of the pantry and I started singing, so sound wouldn’t bounce around,” he said. “I took my time and I wound up making the album “If You’re Going Through Hell” that way. I made a whole record.”
The title track would go on to be Atkins’ first number one hit, spending four weeks at the top of the Hot Country Songs charts. Fortuitously, it also wound up leading to one of his other hits.
Atkins says that his son happened to be laying outside the pantry, listening while he was recording the album.
“My son was four years old at the time, laying on the floor coloring, being a good little boy,” Atkins said. “I didn’t think he was paying attention until the next day, I went to pick him up from Pre-K. I walked in and I’ll never forget Ms. Sarah saying ‘I need to talk to you about your boy.’”
Atkins’ son had been repeating the words from “If You’re Going Through Hell.”
“That’s where that song came from,” Atkins laughed. “I wound up on the front porch writing “Watching You” after that.”
“Watching You,” a song about a son learning from his father, also became a number one hit.
Atkins says he’s excited to play some of those old hits, as well as some of his newer numbers, at Fiesta.
“I’ve been pretty much all over Texas. I don’t know that I’ve actually been to Edinburg, but I love it down in the Valley, it’s my kind of folks. I grew up in a small town. It’s the rural way of life, it’s neighbors helping neighbors. It’s friends and family, and I think that’s who I’m singing to, folks with a rural heart, and I think it’s the same thing when you’re in the middle of that area,” he said. “I think the real heartbeat of that mentality is what you find coming to a place like Edinburg.”
Atkins says he thinks his kind of music will speak to that mentality.
“You want songs that can translate a message like that, where parents don’t have to avoid their kids hearing it, they can listen to it with their kids,” he said. “I can’t wait to be there.”
Concert tickets for Rodney Atkins and Los Palominos are currently available for purchase at www.hebparkrgv.com.