About The Artist
The Set List
Music City, USA
The capital of country music beckoned as the Wal-Mart Soundcheck crew winged its way to Nashville, hotly anticipating an early landing. Waiting for us at the other end of the flight was none other than Country supergroup Rascal Flatts. It was at legendary Ocean Way Studios on Nashville's famous "Music Row" where we found Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus, and Joe Don Rooney downstairs shooting pool to loosen up for the Souncheck performance we were about to record. And what a performance it would turn out to be.
"The Honkeytonk Days"
It's hard to believe a group so big has remained so down to earth. But the immediate vibe we got was of artists that feel the magnitude of what their show has become but still have the same hunger and drive as when they first started playing together - as Gary said - "back in the honkeytonk days."
Along the Road of Life
As the team moved upstairs and prepared to start recording in the main room, we were all struck by the beauty and magic of Ocean Way's recording space. The studio is housed in a Gothic Revival greystone church built around 1900 and the spiritual feel of the room meshed perfectly with the inspirational and intimate nature of the first song of the day. "Ellsworth" kicked off the set with Gary singing a story of memories lost and saved along the road of life.
Fresh As It's Ever Been
The set progressed with unique versions of both "Leavin' Kind" and "Pieces." Between takes, the guys would spontaneously jump up and head for the control room, full of the excitement of listening to just how it was all being captured. It was inspiring to see such seasoned pros still so enthusiastic about the recording process.
Energy, Energy and More Energy
The energy continued to build and peak as they moved into the final song of the day, the catchy first single "What Hurts the Most." It was classic Rascal Flatts, a tough look at love that cut to the heart and brought out the kind of emotional performance for which they're so famous - and so well-loved.
Talkin' About the Gang
After the set, the guys sat down with us to talk about life on the eve of the release of their new album "Me And My Gang." As Joe Don told us, "the new record for us is a family affair. It's opening up everything we are to our audience, it's bringing them in and giving back at the same time and hence the title that kind of brings everything together and everybody into it."
"A Good Ride"
To reach the level that Rascal Flatts has achieved, you've got to have dedicated fan support to keep the momentum going. Jay summed it up best when he said, "Plain and simple, it's the fans that make this happen for us ... When we get off that bus and get ready for a show, we know that the energy in that room is going to be there and we can feed on that and take the audience for a good ride."
"Fans": More Than Just Fans
Joe Don offered up even more insight into the band's feelings about its fans when he remarked, "The loyalty of our fans has been the most rewarding part of this whole process for us; every time we perform, it's like we're playing for our family. That's why you hear Gary actually call them our "fam-base" rather than just fan-base because we really feel they are an extension of us, our family..."
A Soundtrack to Many Lives
It all started to make sense why the guys have remained both humble and grounded as they've grown into superstars over the past few years: they truly are, and have always been, an extension of their fans. They don't preach down to people from the stage. Rather, they sing with their audience, sharing stories of both good times and bad. More importantly, they provide inspiration to keep on moving forward to songs that have become a soundtrack to many people's lives.
That's our show for today; we hope you enjoy the great performance the guys gave. We'd like to send a big thanks to everyone in Nashville for their down home hospitality and we hope to be back real soon for more adventures in that great town. Also a big shout out to Rascal Flatts and their whole team for taking the time out of their busy schedules to record a day with us at the studio.
Real Music. Real Performances.
And thanks, as always, to you, the Wal-Mart Soundcheck audience, for being the reason for us to keep on bringing to Walmart.com real music and real performances.
-The Crew at Wal-Mart Soundcheck