By 1965, Rodney had turned his back on rock music and transitioned into a country and western career. In 1966, Rodney became a deejay on station KGGF Coffeyville (he stayed with the station until 1972), the following year, putting together his band, Rodney Lay and The Wild West. However, he was also starting to get his own songs recorded. In 1967, Hank Thompson had a Top 20 hit with Rodney’s "He’s Got a Way with Women", which Bob Luman would record a decade later. In 1969, Waylon Jennings hit the Top 20 with "Something’s Wrong in California" and the same year, the Hagers scored with "Gotta Get To Oklahoma". During 1970, an interview with Buck Owens on Rodney’s radio show led to Owens arranging a record deal for Rodney, initially with his Blue Book label and then with Capitol. He released two singles for the label, "Georgia Boy" / "I Don’t Wanna Make It" and "Tennessee Woman" / "I Don’t Know Enough". Rodney made his screen debut in 1973, when he appeared in the Sam Peckinpah movie, Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid. For eighteen months between 1975-1976, the band backed Freddy Fender during his halcyon days.
In October 1976, Rodney was reunited with Roy Clark as Clark’s band leader. With Clark, Rodney became exposed to a wider international audience. By 1979, Rodney had signed to Sun Records, and his 1980 album, Rockabilly Nuggets, was critically acclaimed. He hit the Country charts for the first time in 1981 with the Top 90 single, "Seven Days Come Sunday". By the end of that year, Rodney had moved to Halsey’s Churchill label, as Rodney Lay & the Wild West, and in 1982, they had a Top 75 hit with "Happy Country Birthday Darling". He followed it up with the much-acclaimed single, "I Wish I Had a Job to Shove", which gave him his first Top 50 hit.