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Music / Lonestar

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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 (he would go on to become one-half of Big & Rich), 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. He left again in 2021, with former Sons of the Desert frontman Drew Womack replacing him.


  • 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)

Tropes present:

  • 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.
  • Bowdlerise: The below-mentioned "Joined a cult, joined the Klan" line became "Playing guitar with the band" for the radio edit.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The list of possible outcomes for the departed lover in "No News":
    She missed her bus, missed her plane
    Surely, this can be explained
    Lost her car at the mall
    Got locked in a bathroom stall
    Joined a cult, joined the Klan...
  • 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.
  • A Day in Her Apron: "Mr. Mom"
  • 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.
  • Homesickness Hymn: "I'm Already There" is about a man on the road because of his work who calls his family at home out of loneliness. When his children ask when he's coming home, he tells them he's already there with them in spirit.
  • 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.
  • Leg Focus: "You Walked In" has the line "You walked in with legs up to your neck."
  • 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.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Unusually Unusual".
  • 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 country radio 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. Despite this, the Greatest Hits Album has the album version.
    • "I'm Already There" had two remixes: a heavier-sounding mix for pop radio, and an edit of the album/country radio version called the "Message from Home Version" 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").
  • Shout-Out: Several in "No News" in the list of potential excuses:note 
    Playing guitar with The Band
    On the road with Pearl Jam
    Buried with the Grateful Dead
    Came back as a Parrothead
  • 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".)
  • Torch Song: "Everything's Changed," in which the singer's Old Flame as returned to their old hometown and he points out all the things that have changed since she left, except his feelings for her.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change:
    • The pop remix of "Amazed" and the country radio re-recording of "Tell Her" both get these at the last chorus, although the original versions of each song do not.
    • "Unusually Unusual" goes up a semitone at the last chorus.
  • 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…"