About The Artist
The Set List
Though relatively new on the music scene, Rascal Flatts is currently one of America's most popular bands. Amassing sold-out tours, phenomenal album sales, hit singles and numerous awards, Gary, Joe and Jay have risen from relative obscurity to making big noise in American music. With their unique blend of country, pop and rock, Rascal Flatts is one of the first bands to successfully blur the lines between a multiple of music genres. It's earned them mainstream acclaim, but the three boys from Nashville, Tennessee have paid their dues. Soundcheck was honored to catch up with the trio before the release of their fifth studio album, 'Still Feels Good.'
On Why It Still Feels Good
For the new record, Rascal Flatts assembled a stellar list of American songwriters, including Neil Thrasher, Wendell Mobley and Kenny Chesney (who wrote the album's first single, 'Take Me There'). Speaking to the guys, we get the sense that this is one band that really loves music. Though they've been headlining their own shows for three years, Rascal Flatts is anxious to pursue new goals and bigger stages. Explains bassist Joe DeMarcus: "That's the name of the tour because even after all this time, after all these records, it still feels good." Adds Gary: "I think the inspiration behind the entire album was to be the largest selling album in any genre in any type of music. Our inspiration was to try to push the envelope, to go to the next level and see what we can do this time around. I think we all collectively feel like we've accomplished what we set out to do."
On Taking the Show on the Road
As the guys prep for their new 'Still Feels Good' tour, we wondered aloud about Rascal Flatts' Road Essentials. "One thing we can't live without on tour?" ponders Joe. "I'd have to say, probably our golf clubs. And the football Sunday Direct Ticket package." Avid sports fans, the guys are also enthusiastic about a tour that lets them delve into their growing catalogue of music - and not just the hits. Explains Jay: "It's pretty cool because we're finally at a place where we're headlining our own show. We've had enough singles now and enough albums out there that we can just do Rascal Flatts music the whole hour-and-a-half. It's the first time we've ever got to do that, to break it down and do some songs that are album cuts - and not necessarily singles."
On Musical Inspirations
Rascal Flatts makes music that pays tribute to a number of different genres. Not surprisingly, the band draws influence from a range of artists across the board. We asked the guys who they're listening to: "Right now I'm listening to John Mayer's 'Continuum,'" says Joe. "Michael Broussard, Gavin DeGraw, Bryan McKnight's new record is really fabulous." Adds Jay: "Rihanna is pretty incredible. That single with Jay-Z is really good. We listen to lots of music. Nickelback's an incredible band. Forerunner's great." More than music, Gary lists the fans as his biggest inspiration: "I think our inspiration on a day-to-day basis is our fans. You guys are great employers. Without you, we don't have jobs. Our inspiration is to put on a show that we'd want to come out and see ourselves".
Despite quickly reaching iconic status within the country music industry, Rascal Flatts looks set to be around for a very long time. A Nashville band with a modern vision, the guys pride themselves on playing traditional country - with a twist. Their new record, 'Still Feels Good', rounds up Nashville's strongest hit-makers yet also captures the trio's own accomplished songwriting. Inspired by many musical genres, 'Still Feels Good' travels to new places while remaining faithful to the band's many country fans. Make yourself feel good - go pick up a copy at your local Wal-Mart store, or online right here at Walmart.com.
- Rascal Flatts are: lead singer Gary Levox, bassist Jay DeMarcus and guitarist Joe Don Rooney. All three are married.
- They've won countless awards. Most recently, their song 'What Hurts the Most' won CMT Best Group Video of the Year at the Country Music Television Awards.
- They're already country royalty. The Flatts performed at the Grand Ole Opry in November, 2005.
- Before mega-stardom hit, the band played to a small room in Nashville's Printers Alley. After catching the attention of a Nashville A&R guy, the band recorded a well-received demo. The rest, as they say, is history.
- They know how to give back. Over the past two years, the band has donated more than $1.4 million to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital in Tennessee.
Winner at a Losing Game
One of the few new songs written exclusively by Gary, Jay and Joe, 'Winner at a Losing Game' is a Rascal Flatts' favorite - and one that's sure to be a hit. Explains Joe: "'Winner at a Losing Game' is one that the three of us wrote on the bus late one night together, and it's a really, really special song for me. Not only because the three of us wrote it, but to listen back and hear what we were able to do with it in the studio is really satisfying. I think people are really going to be drawn to this song."
Part of Rascal Flatts' undeniable charm is their penchant for positive lyrics. 'My Wish,' from last year's multi-platinum album, 'Me and My Gang,' travels to similar upbeat places. Written by Nashville songwriters Steve Robson and Jeffrey Steele, 'My Wish' recalls fellow recording artist LeAnn Womack's 2000 hit, "I Hope You Dance." A tribute to growing gracefully, 'My Wish' soars with inspiration: "My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big and your worries stay small. You never need to carry more than you hold."
Me and My Gang
The title track from last year's Rascal Flatts album is also one of the band's signature tunes. With its infectious chorus ("We live to ride / We ride to live"), 'Me And My Gang' showcases the band at its foot-tapping, sing-a-long best. It also appeals to the sensibilities of the band's broad audience - who fill stadiums across the country to hear the trio sing: "California to Oregon, even New York City got one or two hillbillies ready to hit the road! Raise up your hands if you wanna hang with me and my gang."
The fourth single from 'Me and My Gang' became an unexpected smash hit earlier this year, quickly becoming the band's seventh No. 1. Written by Blair Daly and Danny Orton, 'Stand' is an affecting testament to staying strong in the face of adversity: "When push comes to shove, you taste what you're made of. You might bend 'til you break, 'cause it's all you can take. You get mad, you get strong, wipe your hands, shake it off. Then you stand."
Take Me There
Wrapping up the set with the first single from the new album, 'Still Feels Good', Rascal Flatts ends on an emotional high note. 'Take Me There' is already a hit on country radio and its pristine production is indicative of the rest of 'Still Feels Good.' Co-written by friend Kenney Chesney, 'Take Me There' highlights the band's seamless harmonies and unabashedly romantic lyrics: "I want to know everything about you then. And I want to go down every road you've been. I want to know the girl behind that pretty stare. Take me there."
-The Crew at Wal-Mart Soundcheck