Gary LeVox Preaches the Gospel of Hope With Solo EP, ‘One on One’

The Rascal Flatts front man's solo career is officially on!

Written by Chris Parton
Gary LeVox Preaches the Gospel of Hope With Solo EP, ‘One on One’
Gary LeVox; Photo credit: Robby Klein

With the start of his new solo chapter, Rascal Flatts front man and vocal powerhouse Gary LeVox is out to preach a gospel of hope — in a time when that message is much needed. Releasing a Christian EP titled One on One, he’s unveiled a bucket-list project full of big names and even bigger themes, presenting himself like fans have never seen before.

Speaking with Sounds Like Nashville about the project, the multi-Platinum star and lifelong Christian says he always wanted to do a faith-forward recording, he just never had the time. But with Rascal Flatts capping a monumental 20 year run in 2020 and the onset of COVID-19, the timing suddenly became perfect.

“Man it feels great,” he says of completing the EP. “We were going a thousand miles a minute with Flatts, touring and meeting our album deadlines for that. I just didn’t have the time, I was so swamped. So I guess some good stuff did come out of the pandemic.”

Featuring five energetic songs steeped in country pop, upbeat soul and vocal mastery, One On One is full of encouragement and features an all-new, modern sound, as the hit maker teamed up with producer Matt McVaney and a host of all-star guests. Elements of everything from summertime pop to electronic dance and rock combine, with help from collaborators Bart Millard (of MercyMe), Jonathan McReynolds and Breland — plus LeVox’s daughter, Brittany.

LeVox says since he was striking out on his own for the first time, he wanted to create something unlike anything he’d done before — and unlike anything he’d heard in Christian music growing up.

“It’s completely different,” he says. “I co-wrote a lot of [the songs] and it’s my vibe, my feelings at the time … and I just wanted to do whatever I wanted to do. … It’s definitely not ‘The Old Rugged Cross.’

That much was easy to hear with the set’s first single, “The Distance,” which Gary LeVox released as a primer back in March. An anthemic tribute to leaning on faith when the finish line feels too far away, the power ballad featured an epic presence that was familiar to Flatts fans — but it cranked up his already otherworldly vocal big time. LeVox and McVaney even added some autotune to it, throwing all modesty to the wind. But the message was straight out of scripture, and it’s one LeVox has followed throughout his career.

“Sometimes you feel like you’re drowning because you’re carrying such a heavy load, being the front man of Flatts and the business side of stuff, being a dad and all that,” he explains. “Sometimes life just seems like too much for one person, so I’ve had to just give it to God. He’s been the anchor of my life and He makes it so much easier than what I can do. I mean, I seem to screw it up when I take the reins by myself. But I know with Him, if I can just keep my faith in Him, I know that I can go the distance for sure.”

Along with his faith, family has always been another big piece of the puzzle for Gary LeVox, so he calls duetting with daughter Brittany on “While I Wait” “one of my proudest moments.” Showing his vocal talent has officially been passed down, it’s a grooving mid-tempo dedicated to making the most of God’s plan. Brittany has a handful of her own songs out, LeVox says, and has plans to go into the family business officially. So she knows all about the song’s patient theme.

“It’s kind of about how hurried we get,” LeVox explains. “It’s like ‘come on world, I don’t know what is taking you so long.’ But it’s God teaching you patience. So instead of getting frustrated and angry about why this isn’t happening, I’m gonna preach while I wait, because I know your timing is perfect.”

Elsewhere, Gary LeVox goes toe-to-toe with a true gospel star (McReynolds) and teams up with an old buddy (MercyMe’s Bart Millard), but it was an off-the-cuff collab with country/hip hop riser Breland which totally impressed him. Teaming up for a soulful blast of self examination titled “All I See,” LeVox says the R&B laced track was co-written by the fast friends in 20-minutes flat, hitting on the pandemic-relevant idea of opening eyes to long overdue personal changes. But despite that message, and LeVox’s leading role, it was Breland who looks like a superstar.

“Breland sang his face off on that song,” LeVox says. “He’s an amazing singer and songwriter for sure.”

Looking ahead, LeVox’s solo career is just getting warmed up. He’s featured in the end credits of the new Liam Neeson film, The Ice Road, which hits Netflix this month, singing the inspiring country anthem, “We Got Fight.” And there’s also a solo country project which he’s already recorded.

Meanwhile, he and his Rascal Flatts bandmates Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney may even rebook their cancelled 2020 Farewell Tour, when the time is right. But for now, he’s taking all the new music out on the road, pairing it with his epic Rascal Flatts hits, and hoping the EP helps people get back to some kind of normal.

“I just hope people take away a breath a fresh air and feel encouraged after listening to this,” he says. “That they feel hope, and that with all the things that have happened in the last year and a half, it gives them a little break in life. I hope they can fall in love with the music and just go, ‘You know what, my life is back on track. And everything is gonna be alright.'”