Banjo

Album: Changed (2012)
Charted: 51

Songfacts®:

  • This is the first single by American Country music band Rascal Flatts, off their eighth studio album and released to Country radio on January 9, 2012. Rascal Flatt's Jay DeMarcus explained the song's meaning as, "a sentiment about getting away from it all, getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and sort of breaking out and finding a spot way out in the country and drivin' and drivin' and drivin' until you go so far you start to hear a banjo."
  • The banjo is a four or five stringed plucked instrument with a long neck and circular drum-type sound box, which is usually associated with country, folk, Irish traditional and bluegrass music. It originated in Africa as a nine-stringed instrument with a gourd body and a wooden stick neck, before making its way to America, where it has long been associated with the culture of Southern African-Americans. President Thomas Jefferson remarked on the skill of black slaves playing the instrument in the late 18th century, referring to it as a "banjar."

    The banjo was popularized by the minstrel shows of the 19th century. Joel Walker Sweeney, an American minstrel performer from Virginia, was the first white man to play the banjo on stage. He replaced the gourd with the drum-like sound box and reduced the strings from nine to five. Sweeney's group, the American Virginia Minstrels, introduced the banjo to Britain in 1846, where they became very popular in music halls.
  • This celebration of the out-of-the-way getaways that refresh us all, features Nashville musician Ilya Toshinsky on the five-stringed instrument that lends the song its title. Vocalist Gary LeVox said of their guest banjoist, "That is the hillbilliest Russian I've ever heard in my life!"
  • Rascal Flatts performed the song at the 2012 ACM awards with comedian Steve Martin performing the licks on the banjo.
  • This was Rascal Flatts' 12th #1 on the Country chart.
  • This was penned by Tony Martin, Wendell Mobley and Neil Thrasher. The idea for the song came when Thrasher was giving Mobley directions to Gary LeVox's ranch. Mobley recalled to American Songwriter magazine: "I remember I was driving up my street on my way home and Neil and I were on the phone talking about an upcoming write we had with Gary LeVox at Gary's ranch to write the song 'Changed.'"

    Mobley had written there a few times before, but he explained, "it's so far out and so backwoods that every time I go I have to get new directions."

    "The last few roads do not have names, not kidding!," he continued. "Neil hunts out there and actually has property connected to Gary's so he can do the drive blind folded. For some reason during this particular refresher course he ended the long drawn out directions with 'and you go and you go and you go … till you hear a banjo' and we both just broke out laughing and said, 'let's write that!' We were with Tony Martin the next day as I recall and just knocked it all out that day in my studio."
  • Mobley had just received the mix of the song's demo when he arrived at LeVox's ranch with Thrasher to pen "Changed." He recalled to American Songwriter: "The second we sat down at the kitchen table I played it and asked Gary if he wanted to hear directions to the farm. He flipped over it and wanted to hear it again and said, 'We're cutting that! Make sure it's locked down!'"

Comments: 2

  • Cheryl from Lancaster, CaI remember writing these song lyrics....donna brown stole them from me. She stole many songs from me...this is one of them.
  • Lanie from Smokena, Ili love rascal flats!!! and this song!
see more comments

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