As long as his little girls have been alive, Gary LaVox has been a country music star.
“My daughters are 9 and 5, and they think the only thing we’ve ever done has been ‘The Hannah Montana Movie’ and ‘Cars,’ ” Rascal Flatts’ lead singer said. “But it’s been an amazing 10 years.”
Indeed, since the trio first hit it big with the single “Prayin’ For Daylight” in 2000, LaVox, Gary DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney have earned three dozen different awards, had 24 hit singles off six albums, did their “Life is a Highway” cover for Disney/Pixar’s “Cars” and made an appearance in the aforementioned “Hannah Montana” film.
The band’s current hit, the title song from its sixth album, “Unstoppable,” is No. 22 on the country charts.
Yet, in a telephone interview from a tour stop in Pennsylvania, LeVox said he and his compadres still feel like rookies.
“It’s unbelievable. Where has the time gone?” the 39-year-old said. “We really feel like we’re just getting started and we feel like our best work is yet to come.”
LeVox said he didn’t even think about a decade-long career when Y2K began.
“You want to have longevity, but it’s such a scary road as a new artist,” he said. “There’s so many different steps involved and so many levels with it. We’re just blessed beyond measure.”
LeVox said there were many highlights during the decade for Rascal Flatts, including its debut CD going platinum, selling out Chicago’s Wrigley Field last summer and outselling all genres of artists in 2007.
“That’s pretty amazing stuff,” he said of ‘07. “You can’t dream that big, especially when Beyonce was hitting big. That’s an amazing thing, a great thing for country music.”
Rascal Flatts will return to the i wireless Center for the fifth time, the fourth as headliners, Saturday night.
A Rascal Flatts concert, for the uninitiated, is not just a litany of songs. It also includes a lot of ribbing from the band, aimed at both each other and their fans.
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“It’s who we are as people. We put on a show like we’d want to go see,” LeVox said. “A lot of times it gets monotonous when it’s one song after the next song after the next. You want to know who the person is, who they are as an artist.”
Hard at work on a seventh album due in September, with some songs being recorded outside Nashville (in Malibu, Calif.) for the first time, LeVox said Rascal Flatts has made its mark in country music.
“I think we definitely opened the door for the Taylor Swifts and Carrie Underwoods of the world,” the Ohio native said. “We’re proud we’ve been able to expand our genre of music a little bit. A lot of times their perspective of country music is sitting on hay bales and whistling the theme from ‘The Dukes of Hazzard.’ But we’ve helped other genres look at country music like country’s pretty cool now.
“Country’s where you come from and your state of mind, not how twangy you sing a song.”