Checking in with Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts
At the time of a mid-September interview, Gary LeVox’s week was one of support and remembrance. Two days before, the golden-voiced lead singer for Rascal Flatts answered calls at the Grand Ole Opry House during the Sept. 12 Hand in Hand Hurricane Harvey telethon. The next day, he attended a friends-and-family memorial for the late Troy Gentry, at the end of a week of mourning in Nashville for his longtime friend. Shortly after, he and bandmates Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney needed to pivot their attention to rehearsals for Rascal Flatts’ upcoming residency at The Venetian, Night to Shine.
“It’s a really sad day here in Nashville,” says LeVox, who had just watched Vince Gill vow Nashville’s support to Gentry’s family during the public funeral, streamed live from the Grand Ole Opry on Sept. 14. “Troy and I were hunting buddies. I just saw him a couple of weeks ago at the Opry. We were sitting there talking about deer season getting ready to start. … We started at the same time Montgomery Gentry did. We were out there beating the streets up trying to get a song on the radio, all together. We were kind of the class of 2000-’01.”
Looking back at those roots inspired the recording of Rascal Flatts’ 10th and latest album. Back to Us reached No. 2 on Billboard’s country album chart shortly after its May release, while lead single “Yours If You Want It” became the most played song on country radio in August. The band joined Earth Wind & Fire to perform the legendary R&B ensemble’s hit “After the Love” for a June episode of CMT Crossroads, created a viral sensation later that month when they crashed a Wisconsin wedding reception to serenade the newlyweds, and mentored Blake Shelton’s team during the filming of this fall’s season of The Voice.
Watching The Voice will be one of the few opportunities for fans to catch Rascal Flatts for the remainder of 2017. LeVox, DeMarcus and Rooney chose not to tour this fall—a major tour in support of Back to Us is planned for next year—opting instead to settle at the 1,800-seat Venetian Theatre for eight performances this month. “We start rehearsals (Sept. 17), putting it all together,” says LeVox of Night to Shine. “Without giving too much away, there are going to be a lot of fun appearances.”
Rascal Flatts is the only major contemporary act to have had three extended engagements at two different venues in Las Vegas, having played at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s The Joint in 2015 and 2016. They drew inspiration for the title of the Venetian run from the last song to be chosen for inclusion on Back to Us, “Our Night to Shine,” which LeVox had co-written for Tim Tebow’s annual event that organizes proms for special-needs children and youth. “Tim and I went out to some of the proms together. He would get up and speak, and I would sing,” says LeVox. “It’s an amazing night. They have so much fun and it’s just awesome to be a part of.”
The Venetian, 8 p.m. Oct. 6-7, 11, 13-14, 18 & 20-21, starting at $62 plus tax and fee. 702.414.9000