Rascal Flatts’ crossover feels good

Rascal Flatts is back on the market with a new album, and their sound is better than ever. Still Feels Good, the group’s fifth studio release in six years, is an excellent reflection of their country background. But with the infused elements of rock and pop, the album manages to appeal to fans across three genres. Rascal Flatts members Gary LeVox (lead vocals), Jay DeMarcus (bass and piano) and Joe Don Rooney (electric and acoustic guitar) teamed up for a second time with producer Dann Huff. He worked with the trio on 2006’s Me and My Gang and has also worked with country music stars Faith Hill and Keith Urban.

With one quick listen, it is clear that Rascal Flatts knows what works for them: Girls and cars. Just like any other country group, right? Wrong. Rascal Flatts takes it to a whole new level with their strongest lyrical album yet, openly expressing their emotions with a smooth mix of rich harmonies and effortlessly-played instruments.

Aside from great lyrics, Still Feels Good represents two firsts for the country group: The first major songwriting contribution by LeVox, DeMarcus and Rooney (they co-wrote five tracks on the album), as well as the first-ever Rascal Flatts duet. In what has to be the most sensual track on the album, “She Goes All the Way,” the trio teams up with actor/singer Jamie Foxx, who shares lead vocals with LeVox. While Foxx goes uncredited in the track listings, his voice is the perfect complement to the drum- and guitar-laced ballad, an ideal example of country/pop crossover.

While there may not be one standout single to compare with past hits “What Hurts the Most” or “My Wish,” there are plenty of strong competitors among the 13-track album. Rascal Flatts sure knows how to do great music, and there is bound to be at least one Grammy or Country Music Award nomination in the mix. After all, the group was the top-selling artist of 2006.
With everything else said, Rascal Flatts’ latest release proves that not only does their music still feel good, but that they are like a good wine: They only get better with age.

Megan Ondrizek may be contacted at m.ondrizek@umiami.edu.