• Rascal Flatts, “Nothing Like This” (Big Machine)
Rascal Flatts remains country music's most consistently successful band of the last decade, but the trio's new album, “Nothing Like This,” finds them at a crossroads.
Their longtime record label, Disney's Lyric Street Records, closed in April; even before that, band members Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney dropped from the country awards lists and saw their sales slip.
Moving to upstart Big Machine Records, Rascal Flatts sounds newly inspired. They slip into a breezier, more melodic sound that brings out their best qualities.
The band still works with co-producer Dann Huff, and they draw on many of the same co-writers.
But ballads like “I Won't Let Go” show a new maturity, a good move judging from how well it showcases LeVox's tenor. Best of all, the trio sounds like they're having fun again — something that didn't show in the last year or two.