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83 Billboard Rating

RASCAL FLATTS
"Banjo" (4:17)
Producers: Dann Huff, Rascal Flatts
Writers: T. Martin, W. Mobley, N. Thrasher
Publishers: various
Big Machine Records

The title -- as well as the opening instrumental sequence -- of "Banjo" might surprise Rascal Flatts die-hards, as the band and the hallmark bluegrass instrument aren't two things that go hand in hand. The other instruments kick in just a few seconds into the song, and the band's hallmark cutting-edge groove comes to light; yet this sound is a little different for the trio. The first single from Rascal Flatts' next album on Big Machine deals with getting away from it all-your job, your worries and all the stresses of the day. The group's harmonies are in full force throughout the track, and the extended banjo solo works well. "Banjo" is more of a diversion than a full-blown change in direction for the best-selling group, but sometimes a random turn off a country road is kind of nice.

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