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5 cool things about Rascal Flatts

Even though country fans routinely call me a no-good [bleepin'] cattle [bleep], I nevertheless dig their spirit, their moxie. They protect their own. I've taken a few rips at yeehaw acts (Carrie Underwood, Lady A), and that riled up a whole lotta cowpokes. Ooh, and they really didn't like it recently when I urged concertgoers to hit up Friday's Rascal Flatts show at 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre in Tampa — but bolt when Rascal Flatts actually came on. I thought it was funny. The WQYK crowd, not so much.

But you know what? This is a nasty enough world. Times are tough. So how about a little positivity from your friendly neighborhood music critic, okay? And what do you say it starts right now? Herewith, a few nice things about the rascally Columbus, Ohio, trio of Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney.

Sean Daly, Times pop music critic

{ FIVE COOL THINGS ABOUT RASCAL FLATTS. SERIOUSLY! }

1

Hot fans: For all the shots I've taken at the Bless the Broken Road tenderhearts, I have to give them props for having the hottest-looking crowds in popular music. Around here, country acts are crazy with fine-looking men and women, but Rascal Flatts takes audience aesthetics (and shirtlessness) to all new bug-eyed levels. Hubba-hubba.

2

Pixar: If you're good with John Lasseter and the beautiful brains behind Toy Story, you're good with me. For 2006's Cars, Rascal Flatts provided Lightning McQueen with some driving music: a likable cover of Tom Cochrane's Life Is a Highway.

3

Sara Evans & Friends: Go figure: Rascal Flatts has really good taste in opening acts, stuffing Friday's bill with the incandescent Sara "Suds in the Bucket" Evans, plus Florida native Easton "I Can't Love You Back" Corbin and old-school-values guy Justin "Small Town USA" Moore.

4

Charity: My guilt is kicking in big time: It's hard to blast a band for being too touchy-feely when its collective kindness is genuine. These guys give back — a lot — including mondo contributions to the American Red Cross (they're on the celebrity cabinet) and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University.

5

CSI: Last year, the boys spoofed their clean-cut image by appearing as a nasty, in-fighting, potentially murderous band on the hit crime show. The appearance tweaked their rep and, even better, tweaked all the haters, a self-aware twofer you have to respect. Okay, fine, fine. I'm not saying I'm suddenly a fan of the Flatts, but maybe I'll stick around Friday to see them, too.

Maybe . . .

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com. Follow him on Twitter (@seandalypoplife).

If you go

Rascal Flatts, with Sara Evans, Easton Corbin and Justin Moore, performs at 7 p.m. Friday at the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $30-$75. (813) 740-2446. The Dallas Bull is hosting an after-party with a concert by Randy Montana. The Bull is at 3322 U.S. 301, Tampa; (813) 987-2855

5 cool things about Rascal Flatts 08/17/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 5:30am]

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