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Rascal Flatts eying end of current tour and start of next one

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Winding down 2013, country superstars Rascal Flatts are looking forward to some time home, but are also planning on starting the whole music machine up again early next year with a new record and new tour.
WANT TO GO? Rascal Flatts with The Band Perry and Cassadee PopeWHERE: Charleston Civic CenterWHEN: 7:30 p.m. FridayTICKETS: $39.75 to $59.75 INFO: Call 800-745-3000 or visit www.charlestonwvciviccenter.com_____CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- The 2013 tour is winding down for Gary LeVox and the boys from Rascal Flatts. After the country music trio's performance in Charleston Friday night, the band only has a handful of shows left before they can (more or less) settle in for a nice long rest.That's after they record a segment on Country Music Television's Country Christmas show, perform the National Anthem during the World Series, as well as finish up the tracks on their next album, which LeVox said should be out in February."We've got 16 tracks recorded," he said, speaking over the phone from his farm in Tennessee. "But we haven't got around to discussing the name for it." The first single, however, they planned to have released in the next couple of weeks.2013 was a busy year for the country stars. The band went out on another lengthy tour. This one took them back to Europe and to Australia, neither of which was exactly new ground, though LeVox said Europe always takes a little getting used to and provides the occasional weird travel tale."It was a funny thing," he said. "We had a lot of trouble finding hotels with air conditioning. A lot of hotels where we played in Europe didn't have them because I guess it doesn't get hot enough."People just open their hotel windows to let in air, he said, which is what LeVox did one afternoon while trying to take a nap a couple of hours before a show.
"We were at a ski resort in the mountains of Norway," he said. "And I kept hearing this sound. It was 'ding, ding, ding.' Over and over, 'ding, ding, ding.'"Finally, unable to close his eyes, he went to the window and looked outside. A herd of sheep was passing below him. Bells had been hung around their necks.
LeVox, who owns a farm, isn't exactly a stranger to barnyard animals, but it threw him a little to see them outside his hotel."The countryside was really beautiful there," he added. "It was amazing terrain."LeVox said the band would be returning to Europe for more shows in 2014, following the release of the upcoming record."It's a different kind of record for us," he said. "We went with producer Howard Benson for this one. He's more known in the rock world. We just wanted a different set of eyes and ears for this one."The new record will still be pure Rascal Flatts, but he said it has a slightly different flavor."We can't wait to get it out of our hands into our fans' hands," LeVox said.
He added that even though this tour is winding down, they're still feeling pretty strong and very blessed for all the success they've had.  In the last couple of years, along with racking up more Country Music Television and American Music Awards, the band was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame"We're the most awarded band in country music history," LeVox acknowledged, but said they'd never really gone after that kind of acclaim. "It's awesome to be able to work and be recognized for it."After Rascal Flatts finishes their tour, their next record and the various one-off engagements, LeVox said he was looking forward to spending a little time at home and doing a little bit of hunting.He's been doing a little bit lately since Rascal Flatts's tour schedule has slowed since the summer."It's bow season right now," he said. "I got three deer last week. The population (of deer) is pretty big this year. You can take three doe a day."Sometimes, he brings along his daughters. Reach Bill Lynch at or 304-348-5195.
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