Thomas Rhett turned to social media after his father, singer-songwriter Rhett Akins, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on Monday night (Nov. 1), honoring him by saying, "I have learned so much from you."

Akins began his career as a recording artist in the 1990s, scoring a No. 3 hit in 1995 with "That Ain't My Truck." He scored a No. 1 hit the following year with "Don't Get Me Started," and he went on to a string of albums before reinventing himself in the 2000s as one of the most successful songwriters for other artists in Nashville. His massive string of hits includes songs recorded by Blake Shelton, Brooks & Dunn, Joe Nichols, Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, Rodney Atkins, Chris Young, Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Luke Bryan and more. He has also collaborated on his son on a number of his hits, and Rhett paid emotional tribute to him in a long Instagram post.

"Dad, I can’t express how amazed I am at your talent, creativity, drive and even though you have all that drive how calm you are through the process," Rhett writes to accompany a photo of himself and his father on the red carpet at the event.

"You always tell me that if God wants it to happen, it will. I try to remind myself of that everyday. In a business where 'hits' drive people you seem to never lose that feeling inside of you that loved writing and singing as a 15 year old kid, and even though you have that mentality you still touch gold with everything that comes out of your mouth," he adds. "I have learned so much from you and will continue to learn from you. It’s mind blowing that we get to work together as songwriters and we have such a blast doing it. I love you and tonight was so well deserved. Can’t wait to see what the next years bring your way."

Akins received the honor as part of the Class of 2021, which also included Buddy Cannon next to him in the songwriter category; John Scott Sherrill in the veteran songwriter category; Toby Keith in the songwriter/artist category and Amy Grant in the veteran songwriter/artist category.

They were honored alongside the previous Class of 2020, in a dual ceremony to address the fact that the ceremony could not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic at that time. The Class of 2020 includes Kent Blazy and Brett James in the songwriter category; Spooner Oldham in the veteran songwriter category, Steve Earle in the songwriter/artist category and Bobbie Gentry in the veteran songwriter/artist category.

Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list. Enjoy the 21 best country songs of the year, based on Taste of Country staff and country music fan opinion, plus commercial data (sales, streaming, airplay).

To be considered, the song must have been released in 2021 or have actively charted for a portion of the year (see "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"). New artists including Lainey Wilson, Larry Fleet and Morgan Wade crack the top songs list, while hitmakers including Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean and Luke Combs make the Top 10.

Let us know your favorite song of 2021 on Twitter, or email us at

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