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Changed: a review of the new project by Rascal Flatts

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Are you a big country music fan?

Me, neither. 😀

Well, at least, I didn’t USED to be.

I hated country music my entire youth.

And then…. I moved to Nashville. Music City, USA, right?

 I started listening to country music a lot back in the ’80’s when I first moved to Nashville because I was dating (and ultimately married) a musician who, at that time, was playing in bands that played country music. But had it not been for the Big Bison (my sweet husbyman) being involved to a degree in country music, and for the fact that I moved among people who worked in the industry, I probably would never have been much of a fan.

I’ve developed a real appreciation for certain country artists, though, because I recognize that in its own way, country music really is a form of soul music: it’s “the music of the people” for a particular cultural group. And this cultural group is not limited to a small geographical region, like the southeastern United States. There are country music fans all over our 50 great United States.

Through living here in Nashville, and through being married to a musician, I have learned that writing, playing, and singing country music well requires the same level of musicality and talent that is needed by any professional musician, playing any other type of music. There is a level of musical expertise, and an understanding of and respect for the heritage of country music, as well as all its peculiar musical nuances – that must be acquired and perfected to become a world class country musician.

So show us rednecks a little respect, wouldja??? ;-D

Rascal Flatts’ new CD: Changed

I said all that to say this: I was recently given a copy of Rascal Flatts new CD, Changed, and was asked to give my honest, personal opinion, which I am very happy to do. Those last three paragraphs constitute a most personal view: my little diatribe that I’ve always wanted to deliver to all the country music haters. Who, by the way, are no longer reading THIS post. They left about the third sentence in.

Musical opinions are like belly buttons: everybody’s got one.

For what it’s worth, I’d like to share my musical “belly button” with you.

I’ve listened to the CD “Changed” several times since I received it. Because I occasionally help my husband write music, I’m pretty picky when it comes to a well-written song. I probably know just enough, in fact, to be somewhat dangerous.

I have not been a big Rascal Flatts fan in the past. While I’ve loved several of their singles (most especially “God Bless The Broken Road”), I’ve always found their music to be a little too slickly produced for my taste. I prefer music that’s a little more sparse, a little more raw, a little less “packaged”.

Still you have to respect a band that has sold more than 21 MILLION ALBUMS, and had 25 million digital downloads over the last 10 years. Not to mention 6 wins as the CMA Vocal Group of the Year.

 And I have to say, I really enjoyed the lyrics and melodies of many of the songs on this project very much.

The album is largely up-tempo, with a few ballads thrown in. I preferred the ballads, for the most part. Songs about “jumping in my pickup truck” and girls with scanty cotton dresses generally remind me of overly sexed Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. commercials and too many bad country music videos. We get it. She’s great looking and you’ve got the hots for her bod. OK. Next. Move along.

My personal faves?

“Changed”: the CD’s title track. Very nice. Favorite lines?

“I came up out of the water
Raised my hands up to the Father,
Gave it all to Him that day,
Felt a new wind kiss my face”
“I got off track, I made mistakes,
Backslid my way into that place
Where souls get lost and lines get crossed,
And the pain won’t go away
I hit my knees,
Now here I stand,
There I was,
Now here I am,
Here I am: changed.”

“Sunrise”: loved the slightly unpredictable melodic progression, the general sentiment of the song, and the line

“We’re gonna change your life
One sunrise at a time”.

“A Little Home”: sweet, poignant, and brought a tear to my eye. This should be a video. I bet it will be.

And even though, in general, I’m anti-“pickup truck songs”, “Banjo “was pretty darn fun! Loved the driving rhythm. Loved the dancing in the courtroom in the video itself. Besides, they used a tour bus in the video: not a pickup truck. I will confess, however,  to an unfortunate recurring memory of the movie “Deliverance”whenever the lyrics said:

“and you go and you go and you go till you hear a banjo”.

Was that intended?

If you’re a Rascal Flats lover, I’ve got a great opportunity for you. Fill in the blanks on the button below, hit submit, and you will be entered in an awesome giveaway: the Fly Away Trip and Tickets giveaway. They’re giving away airfare, hotel, tickets, and meet & greet passes for two lucky fans to see Rascal Flatts on their summer American Band Tour. This tour will be kicking off in June with the Eli Young band, Little Big Town, and Edens Edge. This contest ends April 30.

People tend to have strong opinions about music, and I hope I’ve been clear that these are MY OPINIONS, and I realize that it’s unlikely that they’re shared by you.

Any thoughts on Rascal Flatts you’d like to share?

As I mentioned, I was supplied with the CD, for the purposes of writing an honest review reflecting my personal opinion. My opinions are 100% my own. (But I’m always glad to share them with you!)