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Chris Gaines
06-30-2000, 09:44 PM
The origins of the group begin with co-founders, Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus, second cousins and close friends from Columbus, Ohio. "I grew up in a very musical family," says Jay DeMarcus about his musical roots. "My earliest memories are of us sitting around the living room on Friday and Saturday nights and everybody coming around to the house and picking up whatever instrument was laying around and playing music all night long." "My story is almost exactly the same as Jay's," says Gary LeVox. "I have a very musical family, both my dad and my mom. Our mothers were cousins but close as sisters. We spent a lot of weekends at Jay's house as kids, doing kid stuff and making music."
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<br>Growing up in Picher, Oklahoma, Joe Don Rooney's musical influences first came from his brother and sisters. "They were all into music when I was growing up so I went through a lot of different musical genres," Joe Don explains. But he got his mainstream country experience in Grove, OK. "There was a show called the Grand Lake Opry, believe it or not. Kind of like the Grand Ole Opry. It was really cool. When I was nineteen I worked there and every month we'd have a Grand Ole Opry star from Nashville, like Porter Wagoner, Connie Smith and Merle Haggard, come down to sing and perform."
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<br>In 1992, Jay DeMarcus packed up his music skills (vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, mandolin and more), and was the first to move to Nashville. In 1997, Jay finally convinced his cousin Gary LeVox to give up his day-job back in Columbus and bring his incredible voice to Nashville. "When Gary moved to Nashville, we started writing together," says Jay. "We caught up on lost time. We sang every chance we got. We just hit it hard. We'd stay up endless nights writing music and playing together."
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<br>Jay and Joe Don met when they got jobs last year in Chely Wright's band. Meanwhile, the cousins were also gigging in Nashville's infamous Printers Alley with a part time guitarist. When their guitarist couldn't make it to a show one weekend, Jay invited Joe Don to sit in with them. None of them expected the magic that would make Joe Don a permanent member of the band. "That night really worked out special," Joe Don recalls. Jay knew that I sing high and he had been taking the high part above Gary the whole time they had been singing together. That night, he decided to take the low fifth." Jay pipes in, "I was happy to take the low fifth. I heard Joe Don open his mouth and I was like, "thank you, Jesus!" And, the first night that we sang together, we stopped and looked at each other on-stage, like -- that was kind of cool, let's do that again! It really, really was magical. We honestly didn't have to work hard at it. It was so natural and so much fun."
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<br>The trio went into the studio and recorded some rough demos with Bright and Williams that were played for producer Dan Huff. Even though Huff was not involved with the project, he was so excited by Rascal Flatts' powerful vocal harmonies and stellar musicianship that he called Lyric Street Records' Senior VP of AandR, Doug Howard, and said, "You have to hear this group." Four days later Lyric Street had completed demos in their hands and a new group to sign.
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<br>It is impossible to pinpoint just one element that makes Rascal Flatts' music so special. "We just really jelled because of our influences; pop, RandB, country, gospel, bluegrass roots," says Joe Don. "We've always liked to try to be different, even if we were just playing at some little dive," Jay explains. "When someone listens to Rascal Flatts, they're going to hear a lot of harmony, a lot of funkiness because we love to groove. It's so encouraging for us to see country music going more that direction." "We felt like Lyric Street really had a great grasp on the way that country music was going with SHeDAISY," Gary continues, "and from the beginning we felt like we wanted to be there because of that." And Lyric Street has the power of Disney behind them," adds Jay, "which is really exciting."
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<br>Rascal Flatts is the perfect New Millennium group signed to the most forward-looking new label in Nashville. They were deeply influenced by musical family roots that stretch back to the beginnings of country music itself. and, they were influenced by music-making parents and siblings that passed on the contemporary country influences of the latter part of the century. What Jay, Gary and Joe Don have done is add all their individual influences and creativity to a potent, new musical brew seasoned by all that made country music great in the 20th Century, yet is immediately as fresh and exciting as the 21st Century.
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<br>Rascal Flatts: On The Debut Album:
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<br>Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus recently talked about the songs on their self-titled debut album on Lyric Street Records. Produced by Mark Bright and Marty Williams, Rascal Flatts was recorded at Emerald Studios in Nashville, TN and will be on released on June 6, 2000.
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<br>1. "Prayin for Daylight" (Steve Bogard and Rick Giles)
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<br>Jay:
<br>The first single. That was the first tune we ever cut as a group. The first songe that Lyric Street ever heard us do. It was very, very instrumental in getting our deal. We love the song. It's a very memorable kind of chorus and it just showcases what we can do as well as the band. I think if somebody said tell us what you're all about, we culd play that song and they'd get a pretty good picture of what we can do. "Prayin' For Daylight" was special because at the last minute we changed the feel of the whole song. The demo was really, really different and what's become the little, hooky guitar riff, that happened moments before we went to tape.
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<br>2. "This Everyday Love" (Danny Wells and Gene Nelson)
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<br>Joe Don:
<br>"Everyday Love" is a kind of second version of "Prayin' For Daylight." Actually it's just an uptempo song with lots of vocals all over the place. It's kind of a diferent groove though. I tyhink those two songs from the get-go showcase all of our influences which, ie all three have almost the exact same influences. I grew up in Oklahoma and they grew up in Ohio, yet we lived kind of the same lives.
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<br>3. "While You Love Me" (Danny Wells, Marty Dodson & Kim Williams)
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<br>Gary:
<br>We go the song the night before we were going in to track the record. Mark (Bright) had called us and he said, "You've got to hear this!" When we heard it, our jaws dropped. It floored us. We were looking for a good power ballad. We had a lot that we had on hold. Because we all love ballads so much. It's got to be one that's real special.
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<br>Jay:
<br>It was hard to find one that just knocked us out. When we heard that song we were just, yes!
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<br>Joe Don:
<br>It did to us exactly what we wanted it to and more actually. It really did, and it showcases Gary's incredible vocal ability.
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<br>4. "Some Say" (Don Pfrimmer & Danny Orton)
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<br>Gary:
<br>Just a fun song. On our radio tour a lot of the people said, "This song makes us feel so good like it's a summer day in a convertible with the top down and we're going to the beach." We almost forgot we had this song on hold. Mark Bright brought it up again and when we cut it, it really came out great.
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<br>5. "See Me Through" (Gary Levox, Bruce Miller & Eddie Schwartz)
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<br>Jay:
<br>Gary wrote that one along with, and this is the coolest part, the guy who wrote "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", Eddie Schwartz.
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<br>Gary:
<br>Lyrically there's been a lot of relationships where you say, "Don't give up on me. Don't give up," you know how we beg, "I swear I'll change this time. The time is different. Just see me through it, will you?" It was the first time we ever wrote together, Eddie and I and Bruce who has some Dixie Chicks cuts, and Bryan White stuff. We sat down and wrote "See Me Through" in about forty-five minutes. Three days later I just threw a quick vocal on it and it was just . . .
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<br>Joe Don:
<br>Our jaws fell when we heard it. Put it on hold! No doubt about it. It was the first one that any one of us had written that was on hold.
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<br>6. "One Good Love" (Annie Roboff and Marcus Hummon)
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<br>Joe Don:
<br>This tune I think wraps up everything we're about. Love of family, love of God, love of life . . .
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<br>Gary:
<br>It's kind of gospel-ish, it's kind of bluegrass, it's what we love, it's our roots and it kind of summed us all up in one tune. We've been on a fast track, everything happened so quickly and it took "One Good Love" to do all that, because if God didn't have his thumbprint on it, none of this would have worked.
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<br>7. "It's Not Just Me" (Jay DeMarcus & Marcus Hummon)
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<br>Gary:
<br>Jay wrote that song with Marcus Hummon. That was my favorite song on there, I love doing it. Jay is just a great writer. He's got great melodies. All the stuff that Jay and I had done before has that same kind of thing so I got in there and the vocal was done on it in about ten minutes. It hit me in the heart and it's easy to sing someting you love.
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<br>Jay:
<br>That song is real special. We wrote it quickly. It was my hook and he had the melody and verse and we sort of went from there. I remember laying on the bus one night in my bunk and just thinking about different things, about relationships and how they can be one-sided a times. That little phrase came to me, "Tell Me That It's Not Just Me" and I shared it with Marcus.
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<br>8. "Waiting All My Life" (Tammy Lee James & Rod Mathes)
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<br>Joe Don:
<br>We fought hard for that tune actually. Our producers thought it was too '80s rockish. The demo was kind of '80s rock, but we took it to Jay's house and we learned it and put our little vibe to it and changed it up a little bit. We went back in the office a couple of days later and sang it for them and they decided to record it. It's one of my favorite songs to sing with these guys, no double about it.
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<br>Jay:
<br>It makes re real nostalgic when I hear that song for some reason. It's just takes me to that place. My happy place.
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<br>9. "From Time To Time" (Rich Alves & Bill Rice)
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<br>Gary:
<br>It was one of the songs that helped get our deal. It was one of the first three songs that we had on our original demo that we presented to Lyric Street, "From Time To Time," "Long,Slow, Beautiful Dance" and "Prayin' For Daylight." "From Time To Time" is a great hook, it's real catchy and it's been really fun song to sing.
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<br>10. "Long Slow Beautiful Dance" (Kevin Fisher & Fred Wilhelm)
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<br>Gary:
<br>It was a kind of aggressive rap deal when we got it. Our producer said you might not be able to hear it but just trust me on this, I just want you to listen to it. We listened to it and said, we can't do anything with that! (Laughter.) What is that? That spoken thing in there! It was all spoken. But, we got in the studio and started working on it.
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<br>Joe Don:
<br>We wanted to do something special iwth it. We went out on the porch at Emerald Studios on Music Row for quite a while to come up with this cool melody line for the verse. Insdead of that talking thing, we all decided to switch off lines, interact with one another. It makes that song special and stick out differently from any of the songs on the album.
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<br>Jay:
<br>We recorded that song all together singing at the same time on three separate mikes so we could create that kind of vibe of trading off of lines with one another.
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<br>11. "I'm Movin' On" (D. Vincent Williams & Phillip White)
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<br>Jay:
<br>That's a song that just drains everything out of you.
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<br>Joe Don:
<br>It's true.
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<br>Gary:
<br>I was getting choked up recording it after singing it over and over and trying to get it right. Phillip White and D. VincentWilliams wrote the song. They were writing it about a one of them who was going through tough times, through a divorce.
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<br>Joe Don:
<br>D. Vincent and Phillip came in an dlistened to the final mix. D. Vincent had been having some tough times when he wrote that song. When he got up, he was walking out and said, "Boys, I got to get me a beer. That one hit too close to home. But I do love it." He shook our hands and walked out. That was very, very touching.
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<br>Rascal Flatts: Questions and Answers:
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<br>Before my big break I worked as:
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<br>Gary - pool builder, and I sang backup for Michael English
<br>Jay - Chely Wright's band leader
<br>Joe Don - I did electrical work with my father, and also did janitorial services
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<br>Currently Driving:
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<br>Gary - A 1995 Chevy Silverado, extended cab custom pickup truck
<br>Jay - A Jeep Cherokee
<br>Joe Don - A 1994 Chevy Blazer
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<br>My Dream Car:
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<br>Gary - Mercedes 5600 or a Chevy Yukon with the Ducks Unlimited Package
<br>Jay - Range Rover
<br>Joe Don - A new Chevy Blazer
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<br>One thing I cook great is:
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<br>Gary - Chicken
<br>Jay - Lasagna
<br>Joe Don - Ramen noodles
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<br>One food I absolutely hate is:
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<br>Gary - Avocado
<br>Jay - Crawfish
<br>Joe Don - Lobster Bisque
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<br>The last CD I bought was
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<br>Gary - Brian Mcnight
<br>Jay - Diamond Rio's Greatest Hits
<br>Joe Don - George Jones, Cold Hard Truth
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<br>Pre-performance ritural:
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<br>Gary - Prayer
<br>Jay - I burn incense and do an ancient music chant
<br>Joe Don - I call my mother
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<br>Ultimate fantasy vacation destination:
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<br>Gary - An Alaskan bear, deer, and caribou hunt
<br>Jay - A trip to Italty
<br>Joe Don - A European vacation
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<br>If I only had $20 left, I would spend it on:
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<br>Gary - My wife and child
<br>Jay - A Rascal Flatts CD . . . just
<br>kidding!
<br>Joe Don - My family
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<br>The country song that best describes my current romantic status:
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<br>Gary - "Amazed"
<br>Jay - "Goodbye Says It All"
<br>Joe Don - I Want To Be Loved Like That"
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<br>If I had to pursue a career in an area other than entertainment:
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<br>Gary - I'd ask George Jones to tell my his life story, including every detail.
<br>Jay - I'd ask Elvis if I could hear him sing one more time.
<br>Joe Don - I'd ask Stevie Ray Vaughn what it felt like to have so much heart, soul and feel.
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<br>Rascal Flatts: On Tour:
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<br>7/1/00 - Portland, OR
<br>7/2/00 - Sarasota, FL
<br>7/4/00 - Lexington, KY
<br>7/8/00 - Denver, CO
<br>7/15/00 - Kansas City, MO
<br>7/17/00 - Salt Lake City, UT
<br>7/26/00 - Los Angeles, CA
<br>7/28/00 - Anaheim, CA
<br>7/29/00 - Riverside, CA
<br>7/30/00 - San Jose, CA
<br>8/9/00 - Seattle, WA
<br>8/12/00 - Hanover, NH
<br>8/13/00 - Bloomfield, NE
<br>8/16/00 - Milwaukee, WI
<br>8/17/00 - Indianapolis, IN
<br>8/18/00 - Saginaw, WI
<br>8/23/00 - Fresno, CA
<br>8/24/00 - Lincoln, NE
<br>8/25/00 - Omaha, NE
<br>8/26/00 - Little Rock, AK
<br>9/2/00 - Madison , WI
<br>9/9/00 - Minneapolis, MN
<br>9/15/00 - Harrisburg, PA
<br>9/16/00 - Cleveland, OH
<br>9/22/00 - Huntsville, AL
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<br>Rascal Flatts' Official Website:
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<br>www.rascalflatts.com
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<br>And that my friends, is this weeks Artist(s) of the week!
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<br>Enjoy :)
<br>JasonN

Pilgrim
07-01-2000, 03:17 PM
Hmmmm, I still don't know them.
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<br>BrianN

no1cowgirl
07-02-2000, 02:55 PM
I got it! *L* Within the first paragraph! *L* dang I feel smart now *LOL*
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<br>KristaN