OFFSTAGE: What Rascal Flatts Taught My Daughter

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

My 17-year-old daughter is coming home Friday (Aug. 3) after living in Nashville all summer. I hated every minute of her being gone. She, on the other hand, loved every minute of it. I’m not sure if it was the freedom, the independence, the new friendships, the Southern hospitality, the fried green tomatoes, the education or all of the above. She spent the bulk of her time there studying at Vanderbilt University’s summer pre-college program.

But after taking a break from classes and labs and homework and heading out to the Grand Ole Opry to see Rascal Flatts last week, she learned a thing or two from country music’s favorite band. Like, that the Opry seems to be revered like no other music venue, by everyone in Rascal Flatts and their fans. That the trio is approachable, friendly and totally normal. That their music tells the kinds of stories worth telling. That they were quick to invite the new girl (Lauren Alaina) to share the stage with them for “Life Is a Highway.” That the crowd loved old hits and new songs just the same. That the musicians backing the band were insanely talented. And that once you see Rascal Flatts from the side of the stage at the Opry, you might just be spoiled for life.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.