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Rodney Atkins recently told CMT Radio’s Cody Alan how an early gig chopping and delivering firewood led to Atkins gaining an opening performance slot on an Alan Jackson tour a few months later.

Just months before Rodney Atkins released his 2006 breakthrough debut album, If You’re Going Through Hell, the singer-songwriter was also chopping and delivering firewood to make some extra Christmas cash—and one of those early clients was none other than country superstar Alan Jackson.

“As I was recording the album, at home I was chopping firewood and selling it,” Rodney told CMT Radio’s Cody Alan. “I will never forget delivering firewood to Alan Jackson’s house. And then being asked to be on tour with him. That is still hard for me to believe.”

“Wait a second, so you delivered firewood to his house, and then he asked you upon delivering the firewood, ’Will you go on tour with me?’” Alan asked.

“No!” Rodney responded. “But, I think he knew that I was the guy who delivered firewood, but he heard ’If You’re Going Through Hell,’ and then that’s how that came down. It just seemed surreal, like I had hit the lottery or something. It was crazy!”

That tour opening offer was more than a kind gesture—Atkins’ debut album contained four consecutive No. 1 hits, beginning with the title track, followed by “Watching You,” “These Are My People,” and “Cleaning This Gun (Come on in Boy).”