Rascal Flatts: From Hell to “Heaven”

When the year 2000 rolled around, I’d never heard of Rascal Flatts. But that all changed — for me, the rookie country trio and the rest of the world — the minute country radio started spinning “Prayin’ for Daylight,” their debut single.

Not to be dramatic, but I remember exactly where I was (in the car, taking my kids for an afternoon of Ball Crawl fun a McDonald’s PlayPlace) when I first heard this new guy singing about how he had his lights turned up, his door locked and his bedroom TV on.

When Radio.com asked the band about the moment they first heard their song on the radio, it sounds like it was just as powerful for them as it was for me.

Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney were on their way back from a radio tour to promote the single when they heard it played as part of a “smash or trash” call-in show. You know the ones — where fans call in to either rant or rave about a song. That would have to be sheer hell for a new act to hear.

“The first couple of people didn’t like it, and we were sitting on the edge of our seats,” LeVox recalled. “Like, ’Oh, no!’ But then the rest came in pretty good.”

“Then our moms started to call in,” DeMarcus added.

Regardless of the official tally in contests like this one, the band obviously had more smash than trash on their hands.

In other Rascal Flatts news, the band’s song “Compass” will be featured as the closing theme of Heaven Is for Real , an upcoming movie based on the best-selling book about the true story of a 4-year-old Nebraska boy who claims he visited heaven while undergoing emergency surgery.

The movie, starring Greg Kinnear and Thomas Haden Church, will be in theaters April 16. “Compass” will be featured on Rascal Flatts’ new album Rewind to be released May 13.