Rascal Flatts is an American music group formed in Columbus, Ohio in 1999. The band is composed of Gary LeVox (lead vocals) and second cousins Jay DeMarcus (bass guitar, keyboards, background vocals) and Joe Don Rooney (electric guitar, background vocals). DeMarcus is a brother-in-law of country singer James Otto, and formerly one-half of the Christian music duo East to West.
From 2000 to 2010, they recorded for Disney Music Group's Lyric Street Records. While on that label, they released seven albums, all of which have been certified platinum or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In order of release, these albums are Rascal Flatts (2000), Melt (2002), Feels Like Today (2004), Me and My Gang (2006), Still Feels Good (2007), Greatest Hits Volume 1 (2008) and Unstoppable (2009). After Lyric Street closed in 2010, they moved to the independent Big Machine Records, for which they have released three more albums: Nothing Like This (2010), Changed (2012), and Rewind (2014).
Their studio albums have accounted for more than 25 singles, of which 13 have reached No. 1 on Billboard Hot Country Songs and/or Country Airplay. Their longest-lasting number-one hit, a cover of Marcus Hummon's "Bless the Broken Road", spent five weeks in that position in 2005. In 2005–06, "What Hurts the Most" was No. 1 on both the country and Adult Contemporary charts, and peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Rascal Flatts' founding was at Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar in Nashville, Tennessee. Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus are second cousins from a musical family. DeMarcus moved to Nashville in 1992, earning his first record deal as part of a Christian group called East to West; his brother-in-law, James Otto, is also a country music singer. In 1997, DeMarcus called LeVox, and convinced him to come to Nashville and provide some harmonies on Michael English's album Gospel, which he was producing. They engineered the album together, and became English's back-up band.
At the same time, DeMarcus had become the bandleader of Chely Wright's band, where he met Joe Don Rooney, the guitarist in that band. DeMarcus and LeVox were working in a Printer's Alley nightclub and when their part-time guitarist could not make it one night, DeMarcus invited Rooney to join them. Jim Riley was the drummer and bandleader for the band. The group covered the hit Shenandoah single The Church on Cumberland Road that night. To the group's recollection, a bond was formed instantly.
Singer Mila Mason recommended the group to record producers Mark Bright and Marty Williams, who played Lyric Street Records A&R Doug Howard a three-song demo and Howard thought they were "just incredible." After he'd heard the demos, the band went into the Lyric Street offices the next day, sat down with acoustic guitars, and played a couple of songs. According to Howard in an interview with HitQuarters: "The vocals and harmonies, it was all there—I was just blown away. The lead singer has such a unique and compelling voice." The band was signed to Lyric Street in late 1999.
2000–2005: Rascal Flatts, Melt, and Feels Like Today
In early 2000, the group made its debut with the single "Prayin' for Daylight", a song that had been on the three-song demo that had gotten the band signed. The song, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard country charts, was the first single from their self-titled debut, which was issued in early 2000 on Lyric Street. Following "Prayin' for Daylight", the album's other three singles all made top ten on that chart: "This Everyday Love", "While You Loved Me", and "I'm Movin' On", which respectively peaked at No. 9, 7, and 4. "I'm Movin' On" was awarded Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2002.
The album was met with positive reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine called it "a sunny, pleasing modern country-pop album".
Melt was the title of their second album, released in 2002. Unlike their previous album, Rascal Flatts co-produced Melt. Its first single, "These Days", also became their first No. 1 single on the country chart. The album included two more top ten hits, "Love You Out Loud" and "I Melt", and the band's second number-one single, "Mayberry". The music video for "I Melt" featured partial nudity and was banned from the Great American Country network.
Rascal Flatts's third album was entitled Feels Like Today, released in late 2004. The album's title track was its first single, followed by "Bless the Broken Road". The latter song was originally recorded by its co-writer, Marcus Hummon, and had also been recorded by Melodie Crittenden (whose version made the country chart in 1998), Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Sons of the Desert. In early 2005, Rascal Flatts's version of the song spent five weeks at No. 1, followed by "Fast Cars and Freedom", which also hit No. 1. While the latter was climbing the charts, some radio stations began playing a hidden track on the album, titled "Skin". This airplay caused "Skin" to enter the top 40, and after "Fast Cars and Freedom", it was released as a single under the title "Skin (Sarabeth)" and officially added to the album's track list.
2005–2007: Me and My Gang and Still Feels Good
Rascal Flatts's thirteenth chart entry, "What Hurts the Most", was released in December 2005. This song, which had previously been recorded by Mark Wills in 2003, was the first single from their fourth album, 2006's Me and My Gang. For this album, the band worked with producer Dann Huff. They switched producers to create a more band-oriented album. "What Hurts the Most" was a crossover hit, reaching No. 1 at both country and adult contemporary, as well as top 10 on the Hot 100 chart. After it, the album's title track charted in the top ten, and both "My Wish" and "Stand" hit No. 1.
Also in 2006, the group charted in the top 10 of the Hot 100 with a cover of Tom Cochrane's "Life Is a Highway", which they recorded for the Pixar film Cars. Although "Life Is a Highway" was not released to country radio, several country stations began playing the song, causing it to chart within the top 20 of Hot Country Songs.
Me and My Gang had the highest US debut of 2006, with 722,000 units in April. The album spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Chart and was the second-best selling album of 2006 (behind High School Musical) with sales totaling 3.5 million by year's end. The album's success led the band to take the spot of top-selling artist for all genres of music, which had not been accomplished in 15 years by a country group.
Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts performed together at the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony. Later the same year, the group released the single "Take Me There", a song which Kenny Chesney co-wrote and had initially planned to record himself. It became a number-one country hit in September and was the first single from their album Still Feels Good. It was followed by "Winner at a Losing Game", the first single which the band wrote itself. Both it and its followup "Every Day" peaked at No. 2 on the country chart. The fourth single from Still Feels Good, "Bob That Head", became the band's first single to miss the top ten at country radio. The album's fifth and final single, "Here", was released in August 2008 and became their ninth Number One hit on the chart week of January 3, 2009.
2008–2010: Greatest Hits Volume 1 and Unstoppable
Rascal Flatts released their first greatest hits CD, Greatest Hits Volume 1, on October 28, 2008. The album contains 13 of their biggest songs, starting with "Prayin' for Daylight" and going through "Life Is a Highway". The limited edition of the album contains a second disc with three Christmas songs: "White Christmas", "Jingle Bell Rock", and "I'll Be Home for Christmas". A year later in October 2009, they released a second edition of their greatest hits collection, this time with a second disc containing live performances of "Take Me There", "Summer Nights", "Me & My Gang", and "Winner at a Losing Game".
Rascal Flatts released the first single, "Here Comes Goodbye", from their album Unstoppable to radio on January 20, 2009, and the album was released on April 7. "Here Comes Goodbye" became the group's tenth No. 1 hit. The song was co-written by American Idol season six finalist Chris Sligh. The second single, "Summer Nights", co-written by Gary LeVox, was released in early May 2009, debuted at No. 57 and topped out at No. 2 on the country charts. The group performed "Summer Nights" at the CMT Music Awards, Oprah's Kickoff Party, and the finale of America's Got Talent. The third single off the album, "Why", peaked at No. 18 on the country charts. Rascal Flatts performed "Why" on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. The band released their fourth single, "Unstoppable", in January 2010.
A special release version of their album Unstoppable is available at JCPenney stores nationwide. It features a special release song entitled "American Living" only available on the albums sold at JCPenney stores. JCPenney is an official sponsor of Rascal Flatts' Unstoppable American Living Tour in a two-year partnership and $1 of every CD sold at JCPenney will be donated to the JCPenney Afterschool Fund. On July 16, 2009, as part of the JCPenney American Living Tour, Rascal Flatts made history as the first country music group to play Chicago's Wrigley Field. The trio was joined by fellow artists Vince Gill and Darius Rucker for a near-sellout crowd.
2010–2011: Nothing Like This and The Best of Rascal Flatts Live
After the closure of Lyric Street in April 2010, Rascal Flatts signed to Big Machine Records in July of the same year. The group's first release for the label was "Why Wait". Their next album Nothing Like This was released November 16. In December 2010, this song became the trio's eleventh number-one single on the country music charts.
In March 2011, Rascal Flatts was featured on a remix of Justin Bieber's song "That Should Be Me".
The second single from Nothing Like This was "I Won't Let Go", which went to number two in early 2011. Following it was the band's first collaborative release to country radio, "Easy", which features a duet vocal from British singer Natasha Bedingfield. "I Won't Let Go", and "Easy" peaked at No. 2 and 3 respectively on the Hot Country Songs chart.
On November 8, 2011, Hollywood Records released The Best of Rascal Flatts Live.
2012–2013: Changed and All Access & Uncovered
Rascal Flatts' eighth studio album, Changed, was released on April 3, 2012. It was produced by Dann Huff and Rascal Flatts. The first single from the album, "Banjo", reached number one on the Billboard Country Songs chart. It became their 12th number one hit on that chart. The second single off the album, "Come Wake Me Up", reached the top five on the Country Airplay chart. The third single from the album is the title track, "Changed".
Rascal Flatts member Jay DeMarcus and his wife, CMT Insider correspondent Allison DeMarcus, welcomed the arrival of their second child, Dylan Jay DeMarcus, on July 20 in Nashville.
Rascal Flatts received the 2,480th star in the category of recording of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 17, 2012. The star is located in front of the Sergeant Supply Store at 6664 Hollywood Boulevard. They became the second country artist with Oklahoma ties to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that month after Vince Gill received his star the previous week.
On November 19, Rascal Flatts released their second DVD, All Access & Uncovered: The Making of Changed and Beyond, inviting the public into their inner circle. The DVD project reveals a more intimate side of Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus' lives during the making of their Changed album and more. The project made a one-night-only debut in movie theaters across the country in conjunction with the album release earlier that year, with the band celebrating with fans at the AMC Theater in New York City's Times Square.
On November 20, the band made a guest appearance on NBC's The Voice to promote their new DVD. They performed "Changed" with Cody Belew and Cassadee Pope, contestants from the show.
In 2012, Rascal Flatts announced they will get into the restaurant business. Rascal Flatts Restaurant Group was formed by Philip Lama, CEO and Eric Soe, President, who partnered with Rascal Flatts to create and develop themed restaurants throughout the U.S. and Canada. They call it the Rascal Flatts American Bar & Grill. The first location is at 5455 E. High Street in Phoenix, Arizona. Additional locations will be opened in 2013 and 2014.
In December 2012, Rascal Flatts and Nashville actress Hayden Panettiere hosted the third annual 2012 CMT Artists of the Year to honor the top country acts of the year. Rascal Flatts also hosted The 14th Annual A Home for the Holidays with Rascal Flatts. The show earned a 4.91(million) rating.
Lionheart Music Group, a Swedish independent company within the Universal Music Group, announced they will release Rascal Flatts' album, Changed, on January 2, 2013 in Sweden. Earlier, Rascal Flatts re-recorded their hit "Come Wake Me Up" with Swedish country/pop female singer, Jill Johnson, who is also under Lionheart Music Group, as a duet version on Johnson's new album, A Woman Can Change Her Mind. The duet version was also released as a digital download internationally on November 16, 2012. The record label also released their former album, Nothing Like This, on January 23, 2013.
Rascal Flatts and Journey headlined the Super Bowl XLVII CMT Crossroads concert at the New Orleans Sugar Mill on February 2, 2013. This marked the second collaboration for Rascal Flatts and Journey. In June 2012, Rascal Flatts closed the CMT Music Awards by inviting Journey to perform their hit "Don't Stop Believin'" with them on stage.
Rascal Flatts was nominated for International Artist of the Year and International Music Video of the Year (for "Banjo" and "Come Wake Me Up") at the 2013 CMC Music Awards.
On April 8, 2013, Jay DeMarcus tweeted that Rascal Flatts was working on a new album The lead single, "Rewind", was issued in January 2014, for the album of the same name, which was released on May 13, 2014. Rascal Flatts admitted they were lip-syncing to a recording of their song "Rewind" during Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards show on April 6, 2014. In response to the controversy, Rascal Flatts communicated afterwards that lead singer Gary LeVox had lost his voice and so they made a last minute decision to lip-sync. "Rewind" became a top 5 Country Airplay hit in 2015. Rewind has produced three more singles: "Payback", which peaked at 21, "Riot", which peaked at 20, and "I Like the Sound of That", which was released to country radio on September 14, 2015. This song, co-written by Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay and pop musician Meghan Trainor, reached number 1 on the Country Airplay in April 2016.
Rascal Flatts helped support music education in disadvantaged U.S. public schools by filming a PSA with Little Kids Rock. Through their encouragement for music education, giving the gift of music is possible in children's lives.
The band supports charities such as the Make A Wish Foundation. They helped raise one million dollars for the Central Ohio foundation. The event was Ohio State University's second annual "Big Wish Gala".
The group has an uncommon youth demographic (18–25) for country music. In September 2007, Weekly Reader Research conducted a poll of more than 2,000 children and Rascal Flatts ranked as the sixth-most-popular act among ages 10–12.
They have raised and donated millions of dollars to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. They are also involved with the American Red Cross as they are members on the celebrity cabinet board.
Rascal Flatts has enjoyed financial success as touring artists. Nielsen reported that the band was the top selling artist in 2006: "Rascal Flatts was the biggest selling artist, with nearly 5 million physical album sales and nearly 4 million digital track sales." They had their first headlining tour beginning in Fall 2002, and by 2005 they were among the top 25 tours of the year, grossing $26.3 million in 777,384 tickets sold, according to Billboard Boxscore. Their follow-up tour in 2006 grossed $46.2 million, drawing more than a million people to 79 shows. Rascal Flatts had the third-highest US country tour in 2007, grossing $34 million from 588,009 tickets sold. The group grossed $16.8 million from their summer tour )).
Rascal Flatts' shows are heavy on special effects, including videos, pyrotechnics and laser lights.
In 2013, Rascal Flatts headed to Australia for the first time to headline CMC Rocks The Hunter 2013, which is a three-day festival from March 15 to March 17. They will close the proceedings.
Between 2004 and 2012, Rascal Flatts sold over 7 million tickets, making them one of the top selling country music acts in that time.
In 2012, Rascal Flatts began the year with their "Thaw Out 2012" tour adding 47 additional dates on the Farmers Insurance Presents "Changed Tour" to bring the 2012 year-end total to just over 60 concerts and 1 million fans attending shows in this year alone.
On April 9, 2013, the group announced that they would co-headline a show with Journey on August 1 at Hersheypark Stadium with The Band Perry and Cassadee Pope as openers. Then, on May 3, the group announced that they would add one more show with Journey on August 4 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey with Pope as their only opener.
2000–01: Jo Dee Messina's Burn Tour
2002: Alan Jackson's Drive Tour with Alan Jackson and Cyndi Thomson
2002–03: CMT Most Wanted Live/I Melt Tour with Chris Cagle and Brian McComas
2003: Brooks & Dunn's Neon Circus & Wild West Show with Brooks & Dunn
2004: Kenny Chesney's Guitars, Tiki Bars & Whole Lotta Love Tour with Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban
2004–05: Here's to You Tour with special guests Gary Allan, Keith Anderson, Julie Roberts, and Blake Shelton
2006–07: Me & My Gang Tour with special guests Eric Church (2006: kicked off for playing past time limit), Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, and Taylor Swift
2007–08: Still Feels Good Tour with special guests Jason Aldean (2007) & Kellie Pickler (2008)
2008–09: Bob That Head Tour with special guests Taylor Swift (2008) & Jessica Simpson (2009)
2009–10: American Living Unstoppable Tour with special guest Darius Rucker
2010–11: Nothing Like This Tour with special guests Kellie Pickler (2010), Chris Young, & Luke Bryan (2011)
2011: Flatts Fest Tour with special guests Sara Evans, Justin Moore, & Easton Corbin
2012: Thaw Out 2012 Tour with special guests Sara Evans & Hunter Hayes
2012–13: Farmers Insurance presents Changed Tour with special guests Little Big Town, Eli Young Band, Edens Edge, Thompson Square (select dates), The Band Perry (2013) & Kristen Kelly (2013)
2013: Farmers Insurance presents Live & Loud Tour with special guests The Band Perry & Cassadee Pope (also with Journey on August 1 at Hersheypark Stadium and August 4 at Boardwalk Hall)
2014: Rewind Tour with special guests Sheryl Crow & Gloriana
2015: Riot Tour with special guests Scotty McCreery & Craig Wayne Boyd
2016: Rhythm & Roots Tour with special guests Jana Kramer (Spring Dates) Kelsea Ballerini & Chris Lane (Summer/Fall Dates)
Contributions for other artists
Rascal Flatts' members have also contributed to the work of other artists. LeVox, along with Jason Sellers and Wendell Mobley, co-wrote Phil Stacey's 2008 debut single "If You Didn't Love Me".
DeMarcus has co-produced albums for several artists, including Chely Wright's 2002 album Never Love You Enough, Chicago's Chicago XXX, and James Otto's 2008 album Sunset Man, the last of which had John Rich of Big & Rich as a co-producer. He also produced New to This Town, the first solo album released by Kix Brooks following his split from Brooks & Dunn,
The group has also contributed portions of the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack, with acoustic versions of "Bless the Broken Road" and "Backwards".
In 2011, they did a remix of "That Should Be Me" by Justin Bieber on his remix album Never Say Never – The Remixes.
In the same year, Anna Wilson's Countrypolitan Duets album also included a song featuring Rascal Flatts and Ray Price, "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me".
Also in 2011, the band collaborated with Michael Bolton on his album Gems, on the song "Love Is Everything".
In 2012, Lionel Richie featured Rascal Flatts on his duet album, Tuskegee, on the song "Dancing on the Ceiling".
Also in 2012, Swedish country/pop female singer Jill Johnson featured Rascal Flatts on her album A Woman Can Change Her Mind, on a cover of their single "Come Wake Me Up".