I believed Rascal Flatts was an extraordinary group who would go far in country music from the beginning of their appearance on CMT. The video for their first single, “Praying for Daylight,” on CMT made me melt even before their hit song, “Melt,” came out. Rascal Flatts captured my attention with their unique harmony.
While they were still an opening act touring with established country artists, Rascal Flatts was at the studio of KSCS in Dallas one night. I was thrilled to hear them live on my local station talking with the evening DJ. I wondered if they would allow listeners to call in and speak live to Rascal Flatts on the KSCS studio line. I took a chance and called in and I’ll never forget it. I was able to talk to Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus, while they were still plugging their first album. I may never meet them in person but I have the memory of being able to tell them how awesome they were and how much I liked their unique harmony and music style.
The rise to stardom:
After that phone call, I became a devoted fan of their music and have enjoyed all their many country music hits since. I’ve watched them rise to fame as they put out chart-topping music and successful albums. Yet, their rise to stardom started before the video I saw on CMT.
They began in Nashville playing country music in a club in Nashville’s Printers Alley for a small crowd. This was long before their current tour of performing for masses of excited fans by the thousands. Yet, their potential began even earlier than that.
Gary and Jay:
Several years before that, Gary and Jay (who are second cousins) developed a love for music while getting together with family. Jay not only sings but plays a variety of instruments including guitar, bass, keyboards, and mandolin. In 1992, Jay went to Nashville where he was part of a record deal with the band East to West. In 1997, his cousin Gary left his job in Ohio when Jay reminded him of his music dreams.
Gary and Jay performed in Printer’s Alley with a part-time guitarist when Jay met Joe Don. They met while working together in Chely Wright’s band at the same time Gary and Jay were performing in Printer’s Alley. The part-time guitarist who worked with Gary and Jay couldn’t make it one night and Joe Don was asked to take his place one night. As they harmonized that night, the magic of Rascal Flatts began.