Thomas Rhett’s dad wins an ACM award of his own, as he gets rave reviews for opening the VHS Tour

ABC/Mark Levine

These days, Rhett Akins is a whole lot more than just Thomas Rhett's dad.

In the nineties, Akins' own career as an artist yielded huge hits like "That Ain't My Truck" and "Don't Get Me Started." He followed that with a successful career as a songwriter -- so successful, in fact, the Academy of Country Music just named him their Songwriter of the Decade.

It's the second of seven new Decade trophies the ACM is now in the process of awarding. Rhett found out about the honor backstage at TR's recent Chicago stop on the VHS Tour, where he's also the opening act.

Right after the start of the trek, TR gave the elder Akins' performance a shining review.

"I give my dad's set a ten out of ten," Thomas told reporters backstage at CMA Fest. "And of course I'm biased, but when you get out there and watch my dad, like I remember how much of a great entertainer he is."

"And for somebody to walk out there after not playing shows for like 15 years and do what he did in Orange Beach, [Alabama] was pretty special," Thomas added.

TR says he admires how at ease his father is on stage.

"It's like he has no fear..." TR explains. "He just walks out there and is like, 'Hey y'all, I'm Thomas Rhett's dad. And these are songs that you hear on the radio.' And he just plays a Jon Pardi hit or a Dustin Lynch hit."

"I just love his attitude out there," TR continues. "It was a really, really cool show to watch."

Rhett wrote Jon's "Dirt on My Boots" as well as Dustin's "Small Town Boy," among many other hits. He continues on TR's VHS Tour until it wraps on October 12. 

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