A casual listen to Thomas Rhett's "Country Again" might lead you to wonder if the former ACM Entertainer of the Year had begun to doubt his authenticity amid massive success.
But it's quite the opposite for the second-generation country star: The title track of his latest album is more of a reflection on what he learned during the pandemic.
"For me, the word 'country' means 'simple,'" the singer recently told reporters. "That would be my favorite synonym for the word, and I think that 'Country Again' is that in a nutshell."
"With the year that we had in 2020," he continued, "I think a lot of us were forced to not do what we do for a living and forced to slow down and really forced to recognize, like, what are your blessings in life and what are you grateful for?"
For Thomas Rhett, the answers are close to home.
"For me, that was my family, and for me, that was the outdoors -- that was getting outside again, going fishing again, going hunting again, going out West and hiking with my family," he said. "Those are the things that I used to love to do so much, and then life just kind of got in the way."
The second single from "Country Again: Side A" is a reminder for listeners to not lose sight of the "simple" things.
"I think a lot of us have just been grinding without realizing how hard we're actually working," the singer said. "And hard work is great, but I do think every now and then you can slow down and just smell the roses for a second."
"And that's what last year was for me," he added, "which is kind of where the inspiration for 'Country Again' kinda came from."