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Rascal Flatts: 'Rekindling The Fire' Of Its Country Roots

Rascal Flatts is one of the most successful country crossover acts of the past decade. The award-winning trio has released eight studio records in 10 years and sold more than 21 million albums.

So why did the group recently consider breaking up?

"We had reached a crossroads to where we needed to dig deep to see if we, in fact, had the fire and hunger that we did when we first started out — to keep trying to forge ahead and be better than we'd been and push ourselves to be creatively energized again," bass player Jay DeMarcus says.

Singer Gary LeVox, DeMarcus and guitarist Joe Don Rooney said that, after long conversations and much consideration, they decided they still had more to say. The group's new record, the aptly titled Changed, demonstrates Rascal Flatts' renewed dedication to "rekindling the fire deep down inside."

"Making this last record, it sort of felt like those early days where we were back in my little one-bedroom apartment all those years ago, making our first demo tapes," DeMarcus says.

After being billed as a pop-country act for the past few years with crossover hits like "God Bless the Broken Road" and "What Hurts the Most," Rascal Flatts' members return to their country roots on Changed.

"If people would've heard what we were doing back in the clubs in the late '90s, they would be really shocked to find out how country our sound really was back then," DeMarcus says. "The last couple of years, we've tried to be deliberate about finding things that reflected sort of where we've come from and what our early sound was."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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