Where did one of the most successful American country music bands get their start? Since forming back in 1999, Rascal Flatts has certainly made a big mark on America’s country music industry, as well as the world.
The first official song released by Rascal Flatts was called “Prayin’ For Daylight” which was released in 2000 with their first album Rascal Flatts. It was part of a demo compiled of 2 other songs that eventually got the band signed to their first record label, Lyric Street.
What led up to “Prayin’ For Daylight”? How did this group get so famous? Keep reading to discover more about the Rascal Flatts.
Forming the Group
Jay DeMarcus was born in Ohio and went to Lee College in Tennessee in the early ‘90s. During his time at college, he played the keyboard for a Christian band called New Harvest.
He went on to be the co-founder of another Christian group called East to West, but they soon disbanded. Still interested in furthering his career in the music scene, he approached his second cousin Gary LeVox.
LeVox agreed to add some vocals for a gospel album by Michael English that DeMarcus was producing at the time.
Apart from his producing ventures, DeMarcus had become the leader of Chely Wright’s band, through which he encountered guitarist Joe Don Rooney.
One night while cousins DeMarcus and LeVox were performing together in a nightclub in Nashville, they called on Rooney when their own guitarist couldn’t appear. The three worked together on stage, doing a rendition of “The Church on Cumberland Road” by Shenandoah, and instantly felt a bond.
Fellow American country music singer Mila Mason went on to recommend the new band to some record producers from label Lyric Street Records. They got a 3-song demo together and played it for Doug Howard, who was part of the A&R department.
Howard commented that they were “just incredible” and that “the vocals and harmonies, it was all there—I was just blown away. The lead singer has such a unique and compelling voice.”
It wasn’t long before the group was signed by Lyric Street in 1999.
First Big Break
Just one year after signing with their first label, Rascal Flatts released one of the songs from the 3-song demo that they had performed for Howard.
The single was “Prayin’ For Daylight”, and it got to the No. 3 spot on the US Country charts.
In 2002, they got their first No. 1 hit on the charts, with “These Days” from their second studio album titled Melt. This was followed by “Love You Out Loud”, “I Melt”, and “Mayberry” which all got high rankings on the charts.
A Cancelled Farewell
After a career spanning two decades, the band decided it was time for a farewell tour. They announced the news on talk show CBS This Morning in January 2020, in addition to the good news that they were coming out with some new music.
“We make music and that’s what we do,” DeMarcus said on the show, adding, “We may do it again someday collectively. We’re not going to sign some pact that says we’re never going to tour again… we all still do love each other, but we do make music, and we will probably make some music individually, collectively.”
The tour would commemorate their 20th anniversary, and would be called “Rascal Flatts: Life Is a Highway Tour”. LeVox even shared a glimpse into their work on a new album on his personal Instagram:
In an unfortunate turn of events, though, the group made the difficult decision to indefinitely postpone their show due to the onset of COVID-19.
They released a heartfelt post on social media on the 19th of May 2020, explaining the situation and their tough decision. The caption read:
“Flattheads, after a lot of difficult conversations that we never thought we would be having, we have decided that in the interest of the safety of everyone involved we will not be moving forward with our Farewell Tour.”
It continued, “2020 is still an important year for us as a band and a milestone we want to celebrate with our fans, so please stay tuned for some fun surprises coming your way soon! We love you and can’t thank you enough for being on this journey with us! Thank you for understanding. Stay safe, Rascal Flatts.”