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TRUMBULL COUNTY FAIR Strong vocals, instrumentation keep Rascal Flatts show sharp



Published: Sat, July 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Those who left early missed some of the most beautiful male harmonies out there.

By JEANNINE ZELEZNIK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

BAZETTA -- Trumbull County Fair concert-goers scanned the stands and began trickling into the grandstand two hours before show time Friday night to find the perfect spot to view the hot young country group, Rascal Flatts.

After an enthusiastic introduction by a local band, the Earthquakers, the country trio took the stage to the wild applause -- and the high pitched screams -- of an eager audience.

Excited about being in their home state, Rascal Flatts ripped into their hit song "Everyday Love." Two of the group's members grew up in Columbus.

Unfortunately for a band that prides itself on its vocal harmonies, the band's tour drummer was a little too excited, and overpowered the vocalists for their first few songs.

Magnificent harmonies: By the time Gary Levox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney launched upon their first number one single, "Prayin' For Daylight," the problem had been fixed, and their magnificent harmonies shone through.

The group tried to keep the crowd's energy high throughout the concert, talking and having the audience sing along. After one particularly heart-rending rendition of "Doo Wa Diddy," Rascal Flatts was so impressed, they asked, "Can we take you on the bus with us?"

More high-pitched squeals filled the grandstands.

They also tried out a new song "Bubba's Girl" for the sophomore album. Sung to the tune of the '80s rock ballad "Jessie's Girl," it incorporates all important edicts of a country song: Double-wide trailer? Check. Biscuits and gravy? Check. Attraction to cousins? Even that. And last, but not least, "a guy named Bubba."

Still, their strength in power ballads was unable to keep a live audience's energy high. Little over a half hour into the concert, people began slowly streaming toward the exit.

"They already played their song [Prayin' For Daylight]," Theresa Pollock of Ellsworth explained.

Strong on harmony: Too bad - they missed some of the most beautiful male harmonies out there.

And not only can these guys sing - their instruments can, too.

Rooney on guitar and DeMarcus on bass dueled during one of their few fast songs, their instruments wailing through the cool night air.

During one fiddle solo, their fiddler was playing so furiously that it was amazing smoke wasn't pouring from the strings. The only true problems were the high-pitched feedback that emitted all too often from the speakers. Whether this was the fault of the equipment or the soundman, it should be fixed.

For the future, Rascal Flatts needs to work more on keeping a live audience's attention, but with the talent they possess, there is no doubt that they'll succeed.




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