Updated: Thursday, July 29 -- 3:30 p.m. ET
Photo Credit: Marilu White
Rascal Flatts have signed a new deal with Big Machine Records, the Nashville-based label home to Taylor Swift.
"I'm just thrilled that Taylor let us on the label," quipped Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus when the announcement was made during a Thursday morning (July 29) press conference in Nashville.
Big Machine commandeered the 22nd floor of the new Pinnacle Building to make the announcement. It was a dramatic backdrop for the news, with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides that overlook the Cumberland River, LP Field and much of downtown Music City.
"We didn't pick the Pinnacle Building by accident but because of what it defines -- the peak of success," said Big Machine's president and CEO, Scott Borchetta.
He pointed out that Rascal Flatts have sold more than 20 million albums and 25 million digital downloads, as well as set all sorts of concert attendance records in its 10 years of operation.
The band, which is made up of DeMarcus (bass, vocals), Joe Don Rooney (lead guitar, vocals) and Gary LeVox (lead vocals), was basically set adrift three months ago when its home label, the Disney-owned Lyric Street Records, shut down. Since then, speculation has abounded as to where Flatts would end up.
"It's a new beginning and a new partnership," Borchetta told the room full of reporters and music industry figures. "My whole team is ecstatic."
"We feel we have so much left to do," said DeMarcus, who added with a grin, "We're grateful someone wants us after 10 years."
Rooney intervened to say some kind words for Lyric Street, on which the band released its first eight albums.
At this point in the proceedings, Borchetta and the band members stepped offstage to unveil the cover art for Flatts' next album, Nothing Like This, which will be out Nov. 16, and for the new single, "Why Wait," which, Borchetta said, was being digitally delivered to radio stations as soon as the announcement concluded.
Dann Huff, who's long worked with the band, also produced the new album. Neil Thrasher, Tom Shapiro and Jimmy Yeary wrote the single, a throbbing, high-energy piece that begins with the question, "What do you say, girl, we do something crazy?"
"It's a new day. It's a clean slate. It's what every artist wants," Rooney proclaimed. DeMarcus agreed.
"We've been jumping out of our skin for two days trying to keep this [signing] a secret."
Disney Music Group will continue to own Rascal Flatts' catalog of earlier albums on the Lyric Street imprint.
Rascal Flatts have been named the Country Music Association's vocal group of the year six times and the ACM's top vocal group seven times.
Music industry veteran Scott Borchetta founded Big Machine Records as an independent label in 2005 and serves as its president and CEO. The Big Machine Label Group now includes the Valory Music Co. and Republic Nashville and a combined artist roster that includes Swift, Reba McEntire, Jewel, Justin Moore, The Band Perry, Steel Magnolia, Jaron and the Long Road to Love, Sunny Sweeney, the Eli Young Band, SHEL and Melissa Peterman.
View photos from the press conference.