Can you tell me how Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox, and Joe Don Rooney, the three great guys that make up Rascal Flatts, got together?
—Jody B., Arkansas
It started in Columbus, Ohio, where second cousins Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus hung out and played music together. Jay decided to pursue his love of music and moved to Nashville in 1992. Gary stayed behind, went to college, and worked with the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation. Jay believed in his cousin's incredible voice, and kept urging him to come to Nashville, too. In 1997, Gary was persuaded. Meanwhile, guitarist Jay got a gig playing in Chely Wright's band, where he met Joe Don Rooney. Joe Don had come to Nashville from Picher, Oklahoma. His love of music focused on country at age 19, when he worked at the Grand Lake Opry and saw artists like Merle Haggard and Porter Wagoner perform. The trio finally came together by chance. At the same time Jay was working with Wright, he also was performing with Gary at a Nashville club. One night the guitarist who usually played with Gary and Jay had to cancel and Jay invited Joe Don to sit in—and found their magic. Others liked it too, and eventually they got a contract with Lyric Street Records. Their first single, Praying For Daylight, got them noticed, but it was the next song, I'm Movin' On, that pushed them to the top. They recently released their second album, Melt.