23 May 2021
Behind the Heat Wave: Rodney Atkins & Friends
Streaming 15 June

The first of three AFE Heat Wave shows premieres 15 June, featuring musical artists with chart-topping singles – and two who have won top competition prizes.

Rodney Atkins returns to the Heat Wave lineup after his huge performances in 2018 at Ramstein AB and USAG Stuttgart. This time he’s bringing friends.

Atkins debuted his melodious voice to the world in 1997, took a break and returned on fire in 2003 with his first album, Honesty. It was worth the work and the wait as a single from the album, “Honesty (Write Me a List),” rose to #4 on the charts. Since then he’s hit his stride with a slew of #1 songs, and a win for Top New Male Vocalist from the Academy of Country Music in 2006. His second album, If You’re Going Through Hell, brought him his first two chart-topping singles, “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)” and “Watching You.” Both were ranked as the top country songs of 2006 and 2007 according to Billboard. The album has since been certified platinum in the United States, and produced two more #1 singles, “These Are My People” and “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy).” He issued the 2009 album, It’s America, and Take a Back Road in 2011. The title track on his 2019 album Caught Up in the Country set a record for the longest run on the country singles charts.

Singer-songwriter Lee Brice is a prolific writer who has written and recorded plenty of top 10 singles. He’s also written countless singles for other country stars including Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Kenny Chesney. His “Love Like Crazy” was the top country song of 2010 and broke a 62-year-old-record for the longest run on the Billboard country chart. Garth Brooks recorded Brice’s “More Than a Memory” which was the first song to ever debut at number one on the country chart. And, Brice’s song “Crazy Girl,” recorded by the Eli Young Band, was the Billboard top country song of 2011.

Josh Turner was nominated Top New Artist in 2004 by the Academy of Country Music. Though he didn’t attain that award, that year he and his “Long Black Train” won Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year from the Inspirational country Music Awards. The pattern repeated for the artist and his song “Me and God” in 2006, and in 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy Award for his performance of “Would You Go with Me” and his album Your Man. Turner’s deep gospel roots and smooth, deep tones make him a popular artist on Christian radio and country radio alike.

Jennifer Smestad’s singing contributed to her winning the title of Miss Arizona in 2013.  Since then her pure country tone and lyrical accents give her music a fresh perspective as a compelling performer who touches the audience’s souls. The singer-songwriter has used her voice to share her story and the stories of others who have overcome Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and social anxiety. She released her first self-titled EP in early 2018 and crafted new releases in 2019 and 2020.

After his American Idol win in 2011, Scotty McCreery released his debut studio album Clear as Day late the same year. It was certified platinum in the United States soon after. The album includes “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble with Girls,” which both hit the top 20 on country charts. He released a Christmas album, Christmas with Scotty McCreery, in October 2012 and it has since been certified gold. The title tune from his third album, See You Tonight, released in October 2013, became his first song to reach the top ten on Billboard‘s country charts. McCreery set a new record in July 2017 with his single “Five More Minutes” as he became the only country music artist in Country Aircheck/Mediabase history to chart a song without the backing of a record label, and topping Billboard charts in February 2018. His most recent album, Seasons Change, was released in March 2018 and is his fourth top 10 album in the United States.

Red-hot vocal band Parmalee earned three consecutive Top 10 singles from their debut country album, Feels Like Carolina, released in 2013. Fronted by brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, with their cousin Barry Knox on bass and life-long friend Josh McSwain on drums, Parmalee has had success with both country and cross-over tunes. The band worked with Nikki Sixx, bassist of Motley Crue, on several tracks on their 2008 EP, Complicated, and collaborated with trap artist Blanco Brown on “Just the Way” and again the same year to release a new version of “The Boot,” featuring Brown and pop/hip-hop maverick Bryce Vine. You may also know their music from TV: Their song “Day Drinkin” was featured on a commercial for Twisted Tea, featured during the 2019 Daytona 500, and “Musta Had a Good Time” has become a dance/sing-along concert fan favorite.

Check out these major artists in the first Heat Wave show premiering 15 June. Hang loose and ride the wave to two more hot shows this summer: R&B crooner Brian McKnight headlines 25 June, and the Grand Ole Opry takes over the airwaves 29 June with an explosive lineup of Lady A, Luke Combs, Lee Greenwood, Carly Pearce, Lauren Alaina and Chris Young. And it’s all free, exclusively for you, from Armed Forces Entertainment.