Everything We Know About Rascal Flatts’ New Album, ‘Back to Us’
On March 3, Rascal Flatts delighted fans by announcing the release of their 10th studio album. Back to Us will hit stores and streaming sites in mid-May; it will be the country trio’s first full-length studio offering since 2014’s Rewind.
Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney first shared the news of Back to Us on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and then through an official press release, in which the guys talked about the experience of recording their latest album.
“There was a nostalgic feeling between the three of us while in the studio for this record, a feeling that was more reminiscent of our first albums,” DeMarcus says in the release. “The journey we’ve all been on together is unreal, and I can honestly say I’m even more excited about what is ahead for us.”
Rascal Flatts’ new album is named Back to Us; it takes its name from one of the tracks on the record, but also speaks to what DeMarcus describes as a “feeling that has been building around this new music.”
“This time around, the three of us have been able to really focus and work together on what we want to say at this point in our careers,” adds LeVox. “We’ve all been so energized by the process of making this album, and we still have a lot more music to make …”
The Release Date
Back to Us is scheduled to be released on May 19.
The Record Label
Back to Us will be released through Big Machine Records. Rascal Flatts first teamed up with Big Machine in 2010; their new offering will be the band’s fifth release with the label, including their three most recent studio albums as well as their 2016 Christmas album, The Greatest Gift of All.
The Album Cover
Rascal Flatts released the album cover for Back to Us via an official press release on March 3. DeMarcus, LeVox and Rooney are posed on a deep blue velvet couch, with the band’s name above them and the album title below. As with past album covers, the band members are featured prominently; however, this time, the color scheme is darker and richer than on prior covers (for example, the bright white of 2014’s Rewind).
Rascal Flatts have earned producing credits on every album since 2009’s Unstoppable, and that’s no different with their 10th studio album. According to a press release, the Flatts produced 12 of the project’s 13 tracks; the 13th song, “Hands Talk,” was produced by busbee.
Rascal Flatts released “Yours If You Want It” on Jan. 6, as the first single from Back to Us. The song was written by Andrew Dorff (who passed away in late December) and Jonathan Singleton, and is all about giving your whole heart to the one you love.
“We all felt like “Yours If You Want It” was the perfect way to introduce our fans and radio to the new music we’ve been making,” DeMarcus says. “We’ve been working really hard, and we’re very proud of this track, and what’s more, the late Andrew Dorff is a writer on it, and we are so honored to be a small part of making sure his legacy lives on. We have a special angel watching over it, for sure.”
The Flatts feel fortunate to have talked with Dorff about their version of “Yours If You Want It,” and get his thoughts on it, before he died.
“I got to talk to Andrew shortly before the single was released, and it was so awesome to have an opportunity to speak to Andrew and hear him say how much he loved our cut and our version of this song,” DeMarcus recalls. “So, to carry that with us through this process, and know that he was pleased with what we’d done with this song … Andrew was such a wonderful soul and such a gifted human being, and he will forever be missed.”
Rascal Flatts revealed Back to Us‘ track listing via press release on March 29. The “regular version” of the album will feature 10 tracks, while an Amazon-only “deluxe version” will feature 13 songs.
Flatts members Rooney, DeMarcus and LeVox helped co-write six of Back to Us‘ songs: “Dance” (Rooney), “Are You Happy Now” (all three), “Kiss You While I Can” (DeMarcus), “Our Night to Shine,” (LeVox), “Hands Talk” (LeVox) and “Thieves” (DeMarcus and LeVox). Other songwriters featured on the album include Josh Thompson (“Back to Us”), Dan + Shay‘s Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney (“Hopin’ You Were Lookin'” and “Love What You’ve Done With the Place”), Chris Stapleton (“Vandalized”) and more.
On Back to Us, the song “Are You Happy Now” features Lauren Alaina. A pensive look back at a former relationship, the song gives Alaina a chance to show off her powerful voice — but, as it turns out, she wasn’t the first artist that Rascal Flatts asked to sing on the track.
“We wrote the song four years ago and reached out to Taylor Swift, for the Rewind record,” DeMarcus tells The Boot, “and she said no. And so, we put the song on the back burner for a long time and circled back around this time, cut a new track on it and sort of waited to see who we felt like would be the top of that list to go toe-to-toe with Gary [LeVox], because it’s no easy task to find a singer to get in a booth with Gary and match his vocal prowess.”
When reconsidering “Are You Happy Now” for Back to Us, Rascal Flatts say, Alaina was the only artist they asked to sing the song’s female part — and they couldn’t be happier with the finished product.
The disc’s complete track listing is below.
Rascal Flatts, Back to Us Track Listing:
1. “Yours If You Want It” | Written by Andrew Dorff, Jonathan Singleton
2. “Back to Us” | Written by Cary Barlowe, David Hodges, Josh Thompson
3. “I Know You Won’t” | Written by Steve McEwan, Wendell Lee Mobley, Neil Thrasher
4. “Hopin’ You Were Lookin’” | Written by Cary Barlowe, Jesse Frasure, Shay Mooney, Dan Smyers
5. “Dance” | Written by Joe Don Rooney, Blair Daly, Troy Verges
6. “Are You Happy Now” with Lauren Alaina | Written by Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney, Sean McConnell
7. “Love What You’ve Done With the Place” | Written by Benjy Davis, Shay Mooney
8. “Kiss You While I Can” | Written by Jay DeMarcus, Steven Lee Olsen, Greg Wells
9. “Vandalized” | Written by Luke Laird, Chris Stapleton
10. “Our Night to Shine” | Written by Gary LeVox, Chris DeStefano, Travis Hill
11. “Hands Talk” | Written by Gary LeVox, busbee, Jon Nite *
12. “Thieves” | Written by Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox, Scooter Carusoe, Chris DeStefano *
13. “Roller Rink” | Written by Nick Brophy, Jeffrey East, Jennifer Hanson *
* only available on the Amazon “deluxe edition”
No word yet on whether Back to Us will be accompanied by a tour. Rascal Flatts wrapped up their 2016 Rhythm and Roots Tour in September, after spending more than three months on the road with Kelsea Ballerini and Chris Lane.
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