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Sunday 8.2 

click to enlarge Darius Rucker
  • Darius Rucker

Raleigh
Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker

Walnut CreekThis show is part of the "Rascal Flatts American Living Unstoppable Tour Presented by JCPenney." Bringing together three great things (America, fortitude, commerce) in one title is so over-the-top, it's almost a parody. But who better to oversee all of this than Rascal Flatts? The country-pop band appeals to the lowest common denominator of country music fandom, combining classic rock and clean vocals with the occasional fiddle. The success of "Life is a Highway" is an embarrassment for country purists. But, that said, the saccharine Rascal Flatts remains infectious. When Gary LeVox sings, "Now fellas, you better watch your step/ Don't let them teeny French bikinis make you lose your breath," on "Summer Nights," there is nothing to do but smile and bob your head to catchy, stupid lyrics.

Opening for Rascal Flatts is one of the most surprising success stories in contemporary country music, Darius Rucker, former leader of Hootie & the Blowfish. His big, slightly gravelly voice relays experience, gravitas and authenticity. Rucker approaches country music simply, and while his rock roots are apparent, his slight drawl, humble approach and sincere emotions engage, and prove he is well suited to the genre. Although Rucker professes on "Alright" that, "[I] Don't need no concert in the city/ [because] I've got a stereo and the Best of Patsy Cline," this concert in the city should be well worth seeing. Pay $31-$67 at 8 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey

  • Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker

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