(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
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About halfway through Journey's performance with Rascal Flatts on Saturday's (Feb. 2) live telecast of CMT Crossroads, I realized why this show always makes a little magic happen. It was when Gary LeVox and Journey lead vocalist Arnel Pineda were belting out Journey's 1978 hit "Wheel in the Sky," and Rascal Flatts' fiddler John Jeansonne came to the front of the stage to give the song a big dose of country fiddling. It didn't turn the classic rock song into a country one, per se, but it just kind of reminded me -- and the audience -- that the musical fusion that makes CMT Crossroads work is about so much more than just artists singing each other's songs (although they certainly do that extremely well). And even though Pineda was the one doing the singing now that Steve Perry is no longer fronting the band, the Journey guys sounded excellent on all the Rascal Flatts hits they did: "Life Is a Highway," "Fast Cars and Freedom," "Bless the Broken Road" and "What Hurts the Most." (Pineda, from the Philippines, joined Journey in 2007 after the band discovered him on the Internet when they were looking for a new lead singer). Other Journey songs Pineda and LeVox performed together included "Separate Ways," "Faithfully" and "Don't Stop Believin'."