Rascal Flatts Gains Tour, Loses Label

As the mighty country juggernaut known as Rascal Flatts preps for a summer tour and release of the band’s latest album, members say they were surprised to learn their label will soon vanish into the annals of recording history.

Disney Music Group is closing Lyric Street Records – the only label Rascal Flatts has ever recorded for – in a phase-out expected to cost approximately 20-25 staffers their jobs. Citing the “changing nature of the music business,” last week DMG chairman Bob Cavallo said his company needed to find ways to market its artists.

Photo: AP Photo
"The Oprah Winfrey Show," Chicago, Ill.

The label isn’t shutting its doors all at once and will still promote its current record line. It’s also hustling to get Rascal Flatt’s next single out the door in June followed by the new album in September even though the recordings will be released on a yet undecided label within the DMG family.

“It will be out on somewhere,” singer Gary LeVox said. “We’re still moving full steam ahead and we’re just pumped about the new stuff that we’re cutting. It’s just a sad deal. That was our family for 12 years. It just kind of blindsided us. It was just kind of out of the blue. It’s still a little shocking.”

For Rascal Flatts, the new album represents more than just a new imprint for the band, it also signifies a new recording strategy. Instead of recording in Nashville during a long, cold winter, the band opted for a change of scenery and chose to make its next album in sunny Santa Barbara, Calif.

“It relaxed us, you know what I mean,” guitarist Joe Don Rooney said. “We didn’t have the hustle and bustle of going back home from the studio and being in Nashville in the crazy traffic. We were pretty close to the studio in Santa Barbara and we got to spend 14 to 16 hours a day in the studio. By the time we got home we were tired enough just to sleep at the place we rented. We got a lot of work done that way. It was a really cool experience.”

Photo: Steve France
Lucas County Arena, Toldeo, OH

While DMG figures out which one of its labels will be the new home for Rascal Flatts, the band will tour extensively during the summer. Although a few dates had been previously released, including the tour kick-off in Raleigh at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion June 25, new listings for “JC Penny Presents Rascal Flatts Nothing Like This Tour” include Charlotte at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre June 26; Wichita at InTrust Arena July 22; Cincinnati at Riverbend Music Center Aug. 8; Louisville at Freedom Hall Aug. 29 and Philadelphia at Susquehanna Bank Center Sept. 18.

Kellie Pickler and Chris Young appear on all dates. For more information, click here for the Rascal Flatts website.