US COUNTRY music group Rascal Flatts have revealed the news their Australian fans have been waiting to hear.
The group, who visited Australia last year, said they planned to return Down Under next year.
Speaking to The Leader, bass player and co-producer Jay DeMarcus said the band had hoped to return to Australia this year, but recording and releasing their new album Rewind had meant they “missed our window of opportunity this year”.
“We've been trying to release a record and we're already six months into this year, so we are definitely making some time next year,” Jay said.
“The highlight of our visit was being able to take our music to a different part of the world and see how excited people were.
“After you've been playing so long in the States where people have seen you before, when you play your music to new audiences who are so hungry to see you, it's a wonderful experience.”
Jay said it felt like they were starting all over again with a new set of fans when they played Australia.
“We were thrilled to be there, we had a ball,” he said.
“Our schedule was really, really crammed, so next time we come, we really want to take sometime to look around and perhaps bring our families with us.
“We didn't get a chance to enjoy what the country had to offer because we crammed so much into such a small window and didn't have a chance to enjoy your beautiful country.”
Rewind, their ninth studio album, sees Rascal Flatts continuing to push the boundaries of country music, but is full of their trademark harmonies with a good dose of country thrown in here and there.
There are story songs mixed with rocking, party tunes and Jay said he was pleased to be able to be able to involved in a lot of the production.
Jay said songs that stood out for him included I've Never Been to Memphis, DJ Tonight, Riot and The Mechanic was “one of the better lyrics I've heard written in the past 10 years”.
He said there was nothing he could imagine doing other than music and if he wasn't making music with Joe Don Rooney and Gary LeVox, he would probably teach music.
Playing music live is what he loves the most.
“What I love the most is seeing how our music affects the fans,” he said.
“You can always tell by looking out at the crowd what songs will be best received.
“I am proud of the fact that we've had the songs that have been soundtracks to people's lives.
“I'm Movin' On has helped people through divorces, My Wish has been played at graduations and people have been married to Bless The Broken Road.
“I love seeing what songs touch people at different points.”
Before they head out and put on their legendary live shows, the band gathers together for a prayer, with each member taking a turn to pray each time.
“We use that time to encourage each other to pump up before the show,” Jay said.
“It's our pre-game ritual and our band guys are a vital part of what we do so we huddle up and talk about the show and slap high fives before we go.”
Rascal Flatts are currently on the road with Sheryl Crow and Gloriana on the Rewind tour until the end of October with the songs translating well live with their adoring audiences.