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"A year-and-a-half ago, we all looked at each other and I think there was a part of us wondering if we could go on after 10 years," Joe Don admits to the Bangor Daily News. "We had just gone through a significant management change where we had to make a tough decision and move on, and we had a meeting at Jay's house."
The band's series of changes included the closing of their record label, Lyric Street, as well as leaving their former management company, Turner Nichols, which resulted in a painful lawsuit. Ultimately, it was the series of challenges that helped fuel their desire to move forward as a group.
"We had a talk to see if [performing as Rascal Flatts] was something we still wanted to do," Jo Don recalls, "and we decided yes, so let's make the next 10 years another great run ... We all have something special together that no one else can really understand, just the three of us. I think it's a blessing."
Rascal Flatts recently celebrated watching Changed reach the top of the charts. The title cut, written by Gary with Neal Thrasher and Wendell Mobley, has a blatant Christian theme about someone turning their wayward life around and becoming baptized. It's a subject the men aren't afraid to embrace.
"I don't think we've ever had any kind of worry or trouble about us cutting a song with a Christian style," Joe Don explains. "We've never had stones thrown at us. It's kind of a shame -- and I'm all about religious freedom and speaking your mind about what you believe -- but I feel like Christianity at times gets a bad rap in this country."
Joe Don notes that he and his bandmates all share the same faith, which helps connect them with their fans.
"We try to do things for God because we're all Christians and that's the way we were raised," he says. "I think the core of our fans feel the same way we do and that's something we can hold onto and smile about."
The multi-instrumentalist now believes that the group's best days are still ahead of them.
"We joke that it's taken us 12 years and eight albums to make this album," he muses. "We've been through a lot and I think the hard-core fan can hear it in this album. I think it's our strongest record to date. It's exactly what the three of us are about musically."
Rascal Flatts is currently in the middle of their Changed tour, with Edens Edge, Little Big Town and the Eli Young Band all serving as their opening acts. Keep track of their tour schedule here.