HUNTINGTON VILLAGE, New York, Feb. 19
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
At just 24 years old, country music singer Thomas Rhett Akins, Jr. released his debut album, “It Goes Like This” in 2013. The result was five singles and two No. 1 chart spots on Country Airplay, in the title track and “Get Me Some of That.”
The son of veteran country singer and songwriter Rhett Akins, Thomas – under his stage name, Thomas Rhett – will take his success to The Paramount’s stage on Feb. 28.
“We always love coming up to the northeast; we find that the best, craziest fans are up in this direction,” Akins said. “This is going to be a wild, high energy show that’s a lot of fun.”
Born in Valdosta, Ga., Akins learned how to play the drums in junior high and played drums for his father when he’d perform. From there, “The High Heeled Flip Flops” – Akins high school band – was born.
“We recorded an album in my dad’s living room and we talked in British accents; we were wannabe rock stars,” Akins said. “But I learned what it was like to really hang out with a band and I always loved playing shows.”
British accents aside, the band planted a seed for Akins’ foray into a career in music. Eventually playing frat parties in college, Akins was able to mesh his musical influences, which include country, hip-hop, classic rock and modern rock, into his own distinct sound.
“My dad was very versatile when it came to music and that rubbed off on me,” he said. “My albums represent every side of me; especially this [upcoming 2015] album. We’re going somewhere I’ve never been before and getting into a funky, soul aspect of my voice.”
In 2013, Akins burst onto the scene with the debut release. Other singles, “Make Me Wanna,” “Something to Do with My Hands” and “Beer with Jesus,” led the album to both critical and commercial success as it received positive reviews and debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Not bad for an album he partly recorded in his producer Jay Joyce’s home.
“Some nights we stayed there until 2 o’clock in the morning,” Akins said. “I don’t think you ever expect it [to take off], but at the end of the day we felt that what we accomplished was good and we just put it to rest.”
Along with his own songs, Akins has written singles for fellow-country musicians Jason Aldean, Lee Brice and the Florida Georgia Line. Akins promised, as he always does during his live shows, that he won’t be shy in bringing up a member of the crowd onstage to sing alongside him.
Tickets are available from the box office or at http://www.paramountny.com and range from $25-$50.
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015; Front page)