Joining the likes of Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, and Carrie Underwood to perform at the 2006 Academy of Country Music Awards set to be held on May 23 in MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Rascal Flatts sure is still one interesting act to watch in this year judging from their fourth album's success to break into 1 million copies sale only two weeks after its launching in early April. What's more, the band is likely to mark the year with their lauded live performance as they have already prepared the second leg of their U.S. tour throughout the rest of 2006 which surely will delight fans all over the country. Scheduled to begin on May 26 in Holmdel, New Jersey, it will be carried out around 40 other cities before ends by September 16 in Raleigh, North Carolina, making up such a hectic schedule for the trio to undergo therefore.
Known for its pleasing harmonious sound, Rascal Flatts was originally formed by two Columbus natives Jay DeMarcus (born Stanley W. DeMarcus Jr. on April 27, 1971) and his second cousin, Gary LeVox (born Gary Wayne Vernon Jr. on July 10, 1970), who both shared the same profound interest in music as they grew up together in this capital city of Ohio. The idea to establish a band first came into Jay's mind when he managed to flourish a productive musical career with Christian pop group East to West besides being a session musician following his relocation to Nashville since 1992. Feeling that Gary could help materializing his dream, he then approached the guy and successfully convinced him to leave his job at the state's Department of Mental Retardation to begin working on the concept hand in hand by the year 1997.
Slowly building their reputation in the local music scene, the duo delightfully made their way to earn frequent stints at a Printer's Alley club accompanied by a part-time guitarist. On one night, however, the man was unable to back them up and in search for the substitute, Jay thus invited a friend he previously met when taking jobs in Chely Wright's band named Joe Don Rooney (born on September 13, 1975 in Baxter Spring, Kansas). Upon finding that his playing style suited them well, Jay and Gary quickly offered him to join them along, therefore making the fixed formation of Rascal Flatts with Gary in lead vocal and Jay in bass guitar as well as backing vocal. Within a short time, some demos were wonderfully produced to later come into the favorable attention of Lyric Street Senior VP of A&R, Doug Howard, who subsequently signed them in as the label's new recording country artist, thanks to producer Dan Huff's recommendation.
Afterwards entered the studio to record their first effort by November 1999, Rascal Flatts finally released a self-titled debut album on June 6, 2000 of which two songs entitled “Prayin' For Daylight” and “I'm Movin' On” immediately rose to the top 3 of Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks. Also spawned two more hits on the chart's top ten, it was not really surprising to see the album soaring to the first rank of Billboard Heatseeker to in the end achieve Platinum status along with a CMA Horizon Award and New Vocal Group of the Year title from Academy of Country Music (ACM) in 2001. Unmistakably propelled to widespread popularity across the States, the band confidently walked on their path to deliver another piece of work, “Melt”, by October 29, 2002.
Repeating the formula the trio had perfected on their debut, “Melt” amazingly went straight to the top spot of Billboard Top Country Album besides entered the top 5 on The Billboard 200, along the way generating 4 U.S top 3 country hits of “Mayberry”, “These Days”, “Love You Out Loud”, and “I Melt.” Sadly, this accomplishment was slightly tainted in 2003 when the music video of the latter composition received harsh response from public due to its brief nudity scene which led to a demand insisting the video to be banned from airplay on Country Music Television (CMT) and Great American Country. Fortunately, the case was ultimately settled after the band featured an edited version of the video, allowing them to keep glowing brightly for the rest of the year with the 4 honors they collected each from CMT plus Country Music Association, and two from the Academy of Country Music.
Continued to maintain their superb talent in creating great work, Rascal Flatts eventually came to the highlight of their career through their third album, “Feels Like Today”, and one of its tracks, “Bless the Broken Road." Released on September 28, 2004, this record satisfyingly directed the band to have their first number-one album on The Billboard 200 while the single fabulously enabled them to garner three Grammy Award nominations in the 48th Annual Grammy Awards held in 2006 for the categories of Song of the Year, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and Best Country Song which they finally won. Riding on this success, the group then followed up with “Me and My Gang” to encounter another sweet result as the album instantly sold more than 700,000 copies a week after touching the market on April 4, 2006 and gained 1 millions number in the first two weeks. No doubt reached the top position on The Billboard 200, it therefore became the country music's best release since Tim McGraw's “Live Like You Were Dying” in September 2004. It therefore came to no surprise that the group gained the title Vocal Group of the Year in 2007 Academy of Country Music Awards for the fifth time.
Following the latest album that eventually noted by RIAA to reach over 4 millions units, the group prepared for the next album that is tentatively aimed for September 25, 2007 release.