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Rascal Flatts Launch New Album ‘Back to Us’ With Nashville Rooftop Preview

rascal flatts back to us album party
Katie Krauss

Rascal Flatts previewed their new album, Back to Us, in Nashville on Thursday night (May 18) at an intimate gathering at a Nashville rooftop bar.

The superstar trio performed songs from their tenth studio album — their fifth for Big Machine — including their current single, “Yours If You Want It,” which is the lead single from the project. They also offered the crowd of industry insiders, journalists and even some lucky fans up close and personal renditions of the title song, “I Know You Won’t” and “Vandalized.”

Singer Gary LeVox was in strong vocal form on Thursday night, but his best moments undoubtedly came during “I Know You Won’t,” a song that may already be familiar to country music fans. Flatts bassist/vocalist Jay DeMarcus admitted that Rascal Flatts passed on the song before Carrie Underwood cut her own version on her 2007 album Carnival Ride, and when songwriter Wendell Mobley played LeVox his new demo of the song, the group knew they could bring something different to the track. It’s a yearning piano ballad that could be a smash career single for Flatts if released to country radio, highlighting an impassioned vocal performance capped off with some truly extraordinary high notes toward the end.

“Vandalized” is an uptempo cut that bears a familiar name in the writing credits. Breakout star Chris Stapleton wrote the song with Luke Laird, and DeMarcus joked that when they heard his demo, they couldn’t tell if the song was “a piece of sh-t or not” because Stapleton sang it so well.

DeMarcus and guitarist/vocalist Joe Don Rooney were locked right in with LeVox for Rascal Flatt’s signature harmonies, backed by a percussionist, a dobro player and a mandolin player. DeMarcus also played the role of Master of Ceremonies, at one point gently teasing Dan + Shay singer Shay Mooney, who was on hand because he co-wrote two tracks on Back to Us. Dan + Shay’s music has drawn comparisons to Flatts, and DeMarcus said the trio had made the duo promise that if they were going to steal their sound, they had write some songs for them.

The evening ended with an amped-up version of “Life Is a Highway,” which featured a call-and-response between LeVox and patrons on the rooftop bar’s upper deck to close out the proceedings. The members of Rascal Flatts have said that the new album’s title, Back to Us, represents a return to the chemistry that originally drove the group’s success, and that was very much in evidence on Thursday evening in Nashville.

Back to Us was released at 12AM on Friday (May 19).

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