Country superstars Rascal Flatts are bringing their Changed 2012 Tour to Columbus tonight with special guests Little Big Town and Eli Young Band.
While the name of the tour, and Rascal Flatts' latest album, reflects the headliner's evolution over the last year, it also applies to the newfound mainstream success of the Eli Young Band.
The Texas-based band has been playing together for about 13 years, but it wasn't until their No. 1 hit "Crazy Girl" earlier this year that they became a staple on country radio.
"It's been amazing," said James Young, guitarist for the Eli Young Band. "We've been truly blessed this year. It's changed our lives. It's amazing."
Now nearing the end of the tour, Young said it's been great playing with other country bands, especially a band like Rascal Flatts who have had such a long and successful career.
"It's cool to see how a group like them do it on the road," he said.
While they're still riding the wave of "Crazy Girl" and their latest No. 1 single "Even if it Breaks Your Heart," Young said that they've been writing songs while on the road and plan to get back into the studio in January.
On what direction they'll take on their next album, Young said, "We like to stay with what's working, but we're always evolving as a band."
He said they're excited about the new songs and he feels "it's a good time to be a band in country music," noting the success of Zac Brown Band, The Band Perry and touring mates Little Big Town and Rascal Flatts.
Being in a band also means that they have a "melting pot of musical influences," including Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and "everything under the sun." Young notes that their Texas roots and being a bar band brought some rock to their sound, as well.
"We joke that we're just a country garage band," he said.
Eli Young Band is currently nominated for two Country Music Association awards: Vocal Group of the Year and Song of the Year for "Even if it Breaks Your Heart."
Little Big Town
Though together since 1998 and with five albums under their belt, it wasn't until the September release of Tornado and its first single, "Pontoon," that Little Big Town landed their first No. 1 country hit. Previous top 10 hits include "Boondocks," "Bring it on Home" and "Little White Church."
Little Big Town is known for their four-part vocal harmonies.
They are currently nominated for three CMA Awards: Single of the Year and Video of the Year for "Pontoon" and Vocal Group of the Year.
Headliners of the Changed 2012 Tour, multiple award-winning group Rascal Flatts have been a staple on the country music scene for more than a decade. Breaking out in 2000 with their self-titled debut and the single "Prayin' for Daylight," the Flatts have charted 26 singles, including 12 No. 1 country hits, over eight studio albums.
Their latest album, "Changed," was released in April and became their seventh consecutive studio album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.
Some of their best known hits include "Mayberry," "Bless the Broken Road," "What Hurts the Most" and their most recent No. 1 hit "Banjo."