Rascal Flatts Remain Radio-Friendly

Band Gets Double-Platinum Plaques, Offers New Song at Country Radio Seminar

The Super Faces show isn’t a place where the audience necessarily puts its hands together when the performer urges them to clap along. During Wednesday night’s (March 3) concert at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, however, Rascal Flatts succeeded in winning over the crowd by proving to be radio-friendly — both in music and their overall demeanor.

An invitation to headline the prestigious Super Faces show is a significant milestone for an artist, but it can also be one of the most challenging performances of their career. For one thing, there are no die-hard fans attending the private concert. Also, the music is played during a buffet dinner in a banquet hall, rather than at a more conventional concert venue. Most of all, the audience consists of radio industry insiders who have seen just about everything, including at least one show from the artist’s latest concert tour.

During the past year, Rascal Flatts won vocal group honors at the CMA, ACM and CMT Flame Worthy Video Music awards. Although some people questioned whether Rascal Flatts had achieved Super Faces status on the basis of two albums, Wednesday’s concert drove home the point that those two albums packed a high quotient of huge hits, including “This Everyday Love,” “I Melt,” “While You Loved Me,” “These Days,” “Love You Out Loud,” “Prayin’ for Daylight” and “I’m Movin’ On.”

The three members of the band — Jay DeMarcus, Gary Levox and Joe Don Rooney — seized every advantage to thank country radio for its support. They also eased any potential tension in the room by making jokes at their own expense. Alluding to the “I Melt” video featuring a brief shot of Rooney’s buttocks, DeMarcus promised, “We’ll keep doing the best songs … and Joe Don will keep showing his ass for as long as you’ll have us.”

DeMarcus later sat down at a grand piano to play and sing a slightly revised version of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Referring to how many times a station plays their single in a given week, DeMarcus begged “please play our song,” adding “we’re all in the mood to go heavy, but you’re still having it light.”

Lyric Street Records chief Randy Goodman interrupted the show, surprising the band with the announcement that two of their projects just reached double-platinum status. Their second album, Melt, achieved the distinction after 2 million copies were shipped to retailers. The Rascal Flatts Live DVD went double platinum for shipments of 200,000 copies.

In accepting the plaques, LeVox again noted country radio’s support in driving their CD and DVD sales. “Without you playing our music, nobody would have bought it but my mom,” he said.

In addition to their hits, the band introduced a new song to be included on their next album. Showing an inclination to tackle serious subjects, “It’s Not Supposed to Go Like That” deals with young people who die under tragic circumstances. The trio will spend April and May in the studio to record the album for release later this year.

To see photos from Rascal Flatts’ performance at the Super Faces show, visit their artist page at CMT.com.

Calvin Gilbert has served as CMT.com’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.