It’s virtually impossible to have a case of the Mondays when you are sitting inside a $16 million estate listening to Rascal Flatts and Kix Brooks play tunes from nearly two decades of country music, while you’re enjoying passed hors d’ouevres and drinks. All while raising money for MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s charity that provides a safety net for musicians when they need it most.
That was the scene on Monday night (Oct. 29) at the Nashville home of iconic jewelry designer Johnathon Arndt and his husband Newman. The Arndts underwrote and hosted the lavish fundraising event for a crowd of about 150.
When Rascal Flatts took the stage in the ballroom of the 28,000-square-foot Brentwood home, the band’s Jay DeMarcus kicked things (as he often does) off with a joke. “It’s so nice to know that there’s an organization out there that cares about musicians,” he said, “and will pay me and Joe Don (Rooney)’s bills when Gary (LeVox) decides to go solo.” To which LeVox replied, “Can you put a price tag on love?”
Once the music started, and the intimate crowd did their best to applaud after each song, LeVox observed that he loved watching people try to clap with a glass of wine in their hand.
The hour-long set included nine of the band’s hit songs from their debut in 2000 to their brand new single “Back to Life.”
Rascal Flatts MusiCares Set List:
“Yours If You Want It”
“This Everyday Love”
“Feels Like Today”
“I Like the Sound of That”
“Back to Life”
“Fast Cars and Freedom”
Right around the middle of the show, DeMarcus looked up to the balcony where Kix Brooks was sitting, and as he turned back to crowd, he said, “You know what we should do? Kix will you come down here and play with us?”
Brooks acquiesced, came down from the upper level, and joined DeMarcus, LeVox and Rooney on stage and told the story of how far back his friendship with the band goes. “I think it was somewhere in the early 2000s, when we invited these guys to go on tour with us. It was a crazy tour. We had Toby Keith, this guy named Keith Urban, and these three. Can you imagine?” Brooks went on to play harmonica and sing Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” with some “Mustang Sally” thrown in in the middle. The Neon Circus tour Brooks recalled was in 2001, when he and Ronnie Dunn — Brooks & Dunn — and that solid line up sold close to 600,000 tickets.
The MusiCares event raised money through ticket sales, personal donations, and live auction items including a Grammy package with two tickets to the Grammy Awards and two tickets to the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute to Dolly Parton. The starting bid was $17,500.