Thomas Rhett Learned His Most Important Tour Lesson of 2019 From His Dad, Rhett Akins
Thomas Rhett is closing out the year with lots of learning experiences, personal growth and memories under his belt, especially when it comes to his live show. His 2019 Very Hot Summer Tour not only cemented Rhett's status as a headliner, but also afforded the country star a chance to tour with his dad, '90s country hitmaker and ace songwriter Rhett Akins.
Along with performances from fellow opening acts Dustin Lynch and Russell Dickerson, Akins' set helped teach Rhett how to navigate life as a tour boss -- including, in some cases, how to make tough logistical decisions.
"We found out that I couldn't play five songs within 15 minutes, and that was gonna push into Russell Dickerson's set, because it's a really quick set -- I'm done at 7:15, and Russell's on at 7:25," Akins jokingly explains. "So I said, 'Four's just not enough. I gotta do five. And so now I go on at 6:58. And I only get one T-shirt and one hat!"
"Oh my gosh, you're making me sound like the worst," Rhett interjects with a laugh. "I don't even have any control over that."
Akins doesn't cut his tour boss any slack just because he's his son, though. "Yeah, I get 17 minutes now," he says wryly. "The other night we played Madison Square Garden and me and [songwriters] Julian [Bunetta] and Ashley Gorley and Jesse Frasure took a two-hour cab ride back from Connecticut to the city, and [we decided] we should roast each other ... Jesse Frasure's roast for me was, 'Rhett Akins had his 15 minutes of fame until Thomas Rhett gave him 17.'"
Rhett goes on to say that while he's learned a lot about being a headliner this year, the importance of choosing tourmates he loves might be the biggest takeaway. "[I learned a lot about] dealing with different weather environments, and then learning how to entertain a crowd is different," he says. "I learned how to entertain a crowd indoors in an amphitheater, but I grew to love theaters and hope to do a lot more of them in the future.
"But it's been so fun to bring friends on tour with me, and I think for the future I just wanna bring people I love, first and foremost," Rhett adds. "If they happen to have a great show, that's the cherry on top."
All ribbing aside, Akins had some sweet words for his son, too. "I've been around every artist you can be around in country music, a lot of great artist-songwriters, none better than Thomas Rhett," he says. "To be able to not only tour with each other, but to watch him be the songwriter he is -- to me, I'm watching history.
"You wonder, 'How cool would it have been to sit there with Willie [Nelson] when he wrote this, and how cool would it have been to sit there with Waylon [Jennings] when he wrote that?'" Akins goes on to say. "Twenty years from now, I can sit there and say that I sat there with Thomas Rhett and watched him write these songs. I really feel like they're incredible."
Thomas Rhett's Best Live Shots