Lonestar Biography

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This US country rock band signed to RCA Records in the 90s after establishing their reputation through a touring schedule that regularly encompassed over 200 performances a year. Originally comprising Richie McDonald (6 February 1962, Lubbock, Texas, USA; vocals/guitar), John Rich (b. 7 January 1974, Amarillo, Texas, USA; vocals/bass), Michael Britt (b. 15 June 1966, Fort Worth, Texas, USA; guitar), Keech Rainwater (b. Randy Keech Rainwater, 24 January 1963, Plano, Texas, USA; drums) and Dean Sams (b. Kenneth Dean Sams, 3 August 1966, Garland, Texas, USA; keyboards), Lonestar formed in Nashville, Tennessee, though all the members are natives of Texas. They made their debut in January 1995 when BNA Records released the Lonestar Live EP, recorded at Nashville’s renowned Wildhorse Saloon. The band’s superb harmonies and deep-rooted affection for the country tradition soon won supporters, and the highly successful singles ‘Tequila Talkin’’ and ‘No News’, made them a hot property in contemporary country circles. When the latter release made number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, it built interest for the release of the band’s self-titled debut album in 1995. This was promoted by a typically rigorous touring schedule, which had given Lonestar much of their fanbase in the first place. As a result the band was invited to perform at the annual ACM telecast, where five years previously, McDonald had heard a Miller Lite beer jingle he had sung air during the commercial break.

Rich had left for a solo career by the time ‘Come Cryin’ To Me’ and ‘Everything’s Changed’ provided the band with two more country chart-toppers. Both singles were taken from 1997’s Crazy Nights, the slick but enjoyable follow-up. The excellent Lonely Grill plumped for the middle ground between the straightforward country of their debut and the pop stylings of Crazy Nights. The ballad ‘Amazed’ spent eight weeks at number 1 on the country singles chart before crossing over to top the US Hot 100 in March 2000. Lonestar’s popularity was confirmed when I’m Already There debuted high on the Billboard 200 chart and number 1 on the country listing. Able to appease country lovers and yet bring in aficionados of the AOR ballad (‘Amazed’ has strong shades of REO Speedwagon), Lonestar was at this point one of the most popular country crossover acts of the new millennium.

Former member John Rich also enjoyed great commercial success as one half of Big And Rich. In April 2007 it was announced that McDonald was leaving the band to pursue a solo career. He was replaced by Cody Collins.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.