Thomas Rhett officially released the first part of his double album, Country Again: Side A, on Friday, April 30, a project he unofficially began last spring when he played "What's Your Country Song?" for fans on Instagram. The album highlights Rhett's consistent songwriting and adds a touch more country instrumentation than previous projects, allowing the singer to settle firmly in the territory he found himself in over the past year.
Acknowledging that he has been "reflecting on every album in some capacity," Rhett shared that his latest release feels "a little bit different because I feel like I was taking 10 years worth of knowledge from the road, to getting married, to being a dad, to then hitting the year 2020, and it all just sinks in." "It's like, 'What kind of person have I been in the last 10 years?'" he continued. "I would say that as much of this record is looking back, a lot of it is a timestamp of today. I think 2020 taught us all so many lessons, whether it's for the better or for the worse. For me, I really learned how to slow down and really recognize what was in front of me and what my priorities were."
Country Again: Side A features a number of nostalgic tracks, including "Growing Up" and the standout "Ya Heard," and Rhett shared that he's "a pretty nostalgic person." "I love to look back and figure out things that I've learned over the last few years," he explained. "It's become easy for me to be vulnerable in songwriting."
That vulnerability has paid dividends for Rhett's career, starting with his massive 2015 hit "Die a Happy Man," which the singer called "my first go that, of not just writing a love song, but writing it specifically about my wife." That snapshot mentality continued through "Life Changes," "Remember You Young" and "Country Again," and Rhett shared that he loves "writing songs that really just sum up where I'm at in life today based on what's happened in the past. And so, that was the inspiration on a lot of the songs on [Side A]."
Side A will be followed by Side B later this year, which he is still putting the finishing touches on. "If there was no such thing as a deadline, I'm not sure that any record would ever come out," Rhett joked. "There's too much content. Life is just always changing and new songs are being written and new songs are being sent to me." He added that "it's probably the toughest thing as an artist to be able to say, 'Okay, I think the record is finished.'"
Of both Side A and Side B, Rhett shared that he "was just trying to be a songwriter." "Not trying to play any games and just really wanting to write straight up from the heart exactly what I was feeling, not sugarcoating anything," he reflected. "And I think you can tell that on a couple of these songs on Side A, and you'll be able to hear a lot more of those on the second side, too."