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Rascal Flatts seeking fresh directions for next album

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013

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Rascal Flatts' latest album, 2012's "Changed," is still in a going concern -- with a third single, "Why," currently climbing the country charts.

But the trio -- whose scheduled June 27 concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre was postponed by bad weather -- has already started working on what's next, according to guitarist Joe Don Rooney.

"We're actually in the mist of it now," reports Rooney, 37. "We're probably about a third of the way through it. We've recorded probably eight sons now, and really three or four of them are high on our radar right now. It kind of set the bar for us."

There are, in fact, changes at hand for the follow-up to "Changed." Also setting a new standard is the group's decision to work in Los Angeles with a new producer -- Howard Benson, best known for producing rock acts such as Bon Jovi, Daughtry, Halestorm, Skillet, Hoobastank and many others, and someone Rooney says Rascal Flatts is confident will help the group forge a bit of a new direction.

"It's nothing against any producers we worked with in the past, but we just have a different drive right now," Rooney explains. "It's not like we're trying to prove something. We just want to make a great project, and sonically we want it to sound different and do some songs we would have never cut, maybe in the past and try to push ourselves and see what else we can come up with.

"Howard brings a lot to the table. He's got a lot of history and a real pedigree. We've had a blast recording with (Benson). He's given us autonomy over everything and we're such a part of this process so far -- in a way we probably weren't in the past, so that's been nice, too."

Rascal Flatts, the Band Perry and Cassadee Pope perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $79.50 and $59.50 pavilion, $29.75 lawn with a $99 lawn four-pack. Tickets for the original June 27 date will be honored. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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