Music / Lonestar
A Country Music
band who, as their name indicates, hails from Texas. The band initially comprised Richie McDonald (lead vocals), Keech Rainwater (drums), John Rich (lead and background vocals, bass), Dean Sams (keyboards, background vocals), and Michael Britt (lead guitar, background vocals). Both Rainwater and Britt had previously performed in another band called Canyon. In The '90s
, Lonestar had modest success with their first two albums, including the #1 hits "No News" and "Come Cryin' to Me". Shortly after the second album, Rich was fired, and they continued as a quartet, using a road band and session bassist to cover up Rich's absence.
It was their 1999 release "Amazed" that brought them to fame. The song, which spent 8 weeks at #1 on the country charts, also became the first country song to top the Billboard
Hot 100 since "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers
and Dolly Parton
in 1983. Lonestar's hot streak continued through the corresponding album Lonely Grill
and on through I'm Already There
plus From There to Here: Greatest Hits
and Let's Be Us Again
, but their momentum slumped from 2005 onward. Between 2007 and 2011, McDonald left for a solo career, with Cody Collins (who formerly fronted a short-lived band called McAlyster) taking over before McDonald returned.
- Lonestar Live (EP) (1994)
- Lonestar (1995)
- Crazy Nights (1997)
- Lonely Grill (1999)
- This Christmas Time (2000)
- I'm Already There (2001)
- From There to Here: Greatest Hits (2003)
- Let's Be Us Again (2004)
- Coming Home (2005)
- Mountains (2006)
- Party Heard Around the World (2010)
- Life as We Know It (2013)
- Never Enders (2016)
- Animated Music Video: "Mr. Mom".
- The Band Minus the Face: Party Heard Around the World and My Christmas List were the only albums they released in the absence of Richie McDonald.
- B-Side: "Tequila Talkin'" and "No News" were released as a double A-side.
- Bowdlerize: In "No News", "Joined a cult, Joined the Klan" became "playing guitar with the band".
- Breakup Breakout: Double-subverted by John Rich. His first releases after leaving Lonestar went nowhere, but he had a couple hits with Big Kenny as the duo Big & Rich, and became a prolific songwriter/producer after having out-of-the-box success in both capacities for Gretchen Wilson.
- Christmas Songs: This Christmas Time, which includes eight covers and three original songs. During the Cody Collins era, they released My Christmas List, which was sold only in Cracker Barrel stores.
- Chronic Pet Killer: In the "Mr. Mom" video, the child runs through the yard and passes several pet tombstones. The video provides the page image.
- Class Reunion: "Class Reunion (That Used to Be Us)" is an observation on the participants at a high school reunion, all of whom look and act so differently from what the narrator remembers.
- Common Meter: Outside the "ooh, no news" at the end, the verses of "No News" are common meter double.
- Drive-In Theater: In "Everything's Changed", the narrator laments the many changes in his hometown except for his feelings toward an old fling. The first line of the chorus is: "They put up a plant where we used to park / That old drive-in's a new Walmart".
- Early Installment Weirdness: Their debut album was polished honky-tonk country in the vein of Brooks & Dunn (with whom they shared a producer, Don Cook), while the second was more Eagles-ish soft rock/country. From their third album (and first without Rich), they went straight to pop-country.
- Fake Shemp: At a December 2006 concert, Josh Gracin filled in for McDonald, who was recovering from back surgery.
- House Husband: In "Mr. Mom", the husband takes this role while his wife seeks out work, and the house goes to ruins.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Smile":
I'm gonna smile 'cause I wanna make you happy
Laugh, so you can't see me cry
I'm gonna let you go in style
And even if it kills me, I'm gonna smile
- In Vino Veritas: In "Tequila Talkin'", the singer spends the entire song trying to convince his ex-girlfriend (and quite possibly himself) that the only reason he told her that he still loved her and wanted her back was because he was drunk.
It was just the tequila talkin'
When I told you I'm still not over you
I get a little sentimental
When I've had one or two
And that tear in my eye was the salt and the lime
Not the memory of you walking
If I said I'm still in love with you
It was just the tequila talkin'
- Lead Bassist: John Rich, sometimes.
- Leaving You to Find Myself: "No News" starts off with the woman being dumped stating that she is going on a Journey to Find Oneself, while he instead agonizes over what she must be doing since he hasn't heard from her. The opening verse provides the page quote.
- Lighter and Softer: From "Amazed" onward, they were noticeably more subdued and reliant on the mushy, family-friendly ballads that were nowhere in sight on their first two discs.
- List Song: "No News" starts off listing ways the woman who left him could get in touch with him, and ends up listing bad excuses she could make for why she hasn't.
- Mad Dreamer: The subject of "Unusually Unusual":
She had a tattoo above her ankle of a trident submarine
She said it symbolizes awesome powers hidden deep within our dreams
And her diamond eyes, different in color, held me captive in their light
And she said "Hey, man did you know we used to be brothers in some past life?"
- Power Ballad: "Amazed".
- Rearrange the Song: Occasionally:
- "Everything's Changed" from Crazy Nights reappeared in acoustic form on Lonely Grill.
- The pop mix of "Amazed" had a Truck Driver's Gear Change that wasn't in the original.
- "Tell Her" was completely re-recorded for the single version. The original is a subuded, nearly-acoustic ballad, but the radio edit is a string-drenched Power Ballad which has a key change as well.
- "I'm Already There" had a "Message from Home" remix that spliced in calls placed by family members of soldiers serving overseas (and muted the line "I'll gently kiss your lips / touch you with my fingertips").
- Oddly, their Greatest Hits Album has both versions of "I'm Already There" and the bowdlerized radio version of "No News", but the album version of "Tell Her".
- She's Got Legs: "You Walked In" has the line "You walked in with legs up to your neck."
- Shout-Out: Haley & Michaels released a song in 2014 called "Just Another Love Song", which heavily references "Amazed". Near the end, Richie sings the chorus to "Amazed" over the song's chorus.
- Several in "No News" in the list of potential excuses: "...on the road with Pearl Jam, buried with the Grateful Dead, came back as a Parrothead." The edited version also has "playing guitar with The Band."
- Step Up to the Microphone: When John Rich was in the band, he sang lead on several album tracks, but "Heartbroke Every Day" was the only single that had him on the lead. (Coincidentally or otherwise, its chart run overlapped with Richie's guest appearance on then-labelmate Mindy McCready's "Maybe He'll Notice Her Now".)
- Un-person: Outside his co-writing credit on "Come Cryin' to Me", the 2003 Greatest Hits Album gives no implication that Rich was ever in the band.
- Vocal Evolution: Not unlike Rascal Flatts frontman Gary LeVox seven years later, Richie McDonald became increasingly theatrical and whiny over the years. Coincidentally, both men were brought to their histrionic levels by way of producer Dann Huff.
- John Rich became a lot more breathy and less nasal after he left Lonestar, too.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: "I'm Already There":
A little voice came on the phone
Said "Daddy, when you coming home?"
He said the first thing that came to his mind
"I'm already there
Take a look around…"\\