Lonestar at Full Strength as Acoustic Tour Revs Up
Courtesy - Billboard
By Chuck Dauphin
In 2008, Richie McDonald – longtime lead singer of the group Lonestar parted ways with the group to concentrate on a solo career. Though the band pressed on with Cody Collins taking over the main vocals, McDonald's return in 2011 gave the band a well-needed shot in the arm. "It's been great," member Michael Britt tells Billboard. "It feels like things are back to normal. It was a little bit different having Cody in the band. You do what you have to do to keep the ball rolling, but as soon as Richie came back, it felt like a comfortable pair of boots."
The synergy that McDonald, Britt, Keech Rainwater, and Dean Sams have together is something that Britt says cannot be underestimated. "We spent so many years playing together that he always knows what we are going to do, and we can tell what he is about to do. So, there's a comfort zone in that you know what the other guy is thinking."
Lonestar Launches Their 2014 Acoustic Tour
Multi-platinum recording group LONESTAR kicked off their 2014 Acoustic Tour in Scottsdale, AZ. Comprised of Richie McDonald (lead vocals), Michael Britt (lead guitar & backing vocals), Keech Rainwater (drums), and Dean Sams (keyboards & backing vocals), the Grammy nominated group will be traveling cross country with dates on the east and west coast as well as points in between.
Known for merging their country roots with strong melodies and rich vocals, Lonestar has amassed RIAA-certified sales in excess of ten million album units since their national launch in 1995 and achieved ten #1 country hits including "No News," "Come Crying To Me," and their crossover smash "Amazed" (which was also #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first record since 1983's "Islands in the Stream", to top both charts). The band's awards include a 1999 ACM Single of The Year for “Amazed” (the song also won the Song of the Year award) and the 2001 CMA Vocal Group of the Year.
2013 found the release of their first full-length album in over three years, Life As We Know It, and the much anticipated return of their original lead vocalist, Richie McDonald. Now gearing up for the release of their next single “Pretty Good Day,” Lonestar is officially declaring 2014 the Year of the Fan. The year will be full of unique social media campaigns and prize giveaways. Updates will be posted on their website.
“We are really excited to kick off 2014 back on the road in support of our latest album, Life As We Know It,” says Dean Sams. “This February and March, we are bringing the tour back to the basics with an all new, stripped down, acoustic show. This setting allows us to really showcase our songs in their original form of just voice and instruments, without all the production. Unlike anything we’ve ever done before, the show will be full of audience interaction that will be social media driven and allow fans the unique opportunity to come on stage with us. We look forward to seeing all of our fans at our shows!”
Fans can visit Lonestar’s Facebook and by sharing the status of their city’s tour date and posting “GET ME ON STAGE,” they will automatically be entered to win a chance to come on stage during that show.
LONESTAR 2014 Acoustic Tour Dates:
February 6 Scottsdale, AZ - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
February 8 Redding, CA -Cascade Theatre
February 9 Chico, CA - California State University Chico - Laxson Auditorium
February 13 Tucson, AZ - Fox Tucson Theatre
February 14 El Cajon, CA- Sycuan Casino
February 15 Santa Clarita, CA - College of The Canyons Performing Arts Center
February 16 Modesto, CA - Gallo Center for the Arts - Mary Stuart Rogers Theatre
February 17 Folson, CA - Harris Center
February 28 Tulsa, OK – Mabee Center
March 12 Orono, ME - University of Maine - Collins Center for the Arts
March 13 Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre
March 14 Greenville, SC – Bon Secours Wellness Arena
March 15 Bradford, PA - Bradford Area High School Auditorium
March 22 Biloxi, MS - Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Hard Rock Live
Never a dull moment with Lonestar
Courtesy Inland Empire Weekly
Lonestar recently appeared at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa on July 19 in support of their most recent release, Life as We Know It, which may be one of the easiest albums this veteran country band has ever recorded together.
“Honestly, it was a really relaxing experience,” concurs guitarist Michael Britt. “We produced it ourselves,” he continues, “and there wasn’t a lot of pressure from outside the band to make it. It was just something we wanted to do. We wrote a lot of the songs for it, and we kind of knew what we were looking for. We found the songs we felt the best about and went in and recorded it. The recording part went so smoothly, it was almost, like, uneventful in that everything we wanted to do just kind of fell in to place.”
Life as We Know It also marks the return of lead singer Richie McDonald, who led the band through its most commercially successful period, before briefly leaving the group at the end of 2007. Now, with McDonald back in the fold, the group just somehow seems complete again.
“Since Richie’s been back,” says Britt, “it does feel like we’re back to normal and sound kind of like we’re supposed to sound like. It’s always come so easy for us anytime we play together.”
One other big reason Lonestar is so happy with their career these days is that they now retain a degree of independence when it comes to making important artistic moves. “A lot of times, you have an A&R person at the label wanting you to do things you’re not entirely into,” Britt explains. “That’s the cool thing about where we’re at now; we kind of get to make a lot of these decisions ourselves.”
GAC Review: "Life As We Know It"
After sitting out Lonestar’s 2010 album, Party Heard Around the World, as he pursued a solo career, original lead singer Richie McDonald returns for the band’s eighth studio album. Life As We Know It, due in stores June 4, not only marks a reunion between Richie and fellow members Michael Britt (lead guitar/backing vocals), Keech Rainwater (drums) and Dean Sams(keyboards/backing vocals), but it’s also the first time the group has had complete creative control over a new project.
Lonestar not only produced Life As We Know It themselves, but they’re also set to release it through their own 4 Star Records. Pair that with the quartet writing nine of the album’s 12 songs and the foundation here is one of complete artistic freedom. The result is in many ways a return to form for the group that notched nine No. 1 singles through the late ’90s and early ’00s.
Full of electric riffs and tight harmonies, Life As We Know It showcases a rejuvenated band throughout much of the record. Songs like the summer anthem “Party All Day” and pace-setting opener, “The Countdown,” establish the tone as Lonestar moves through an incredibly polished collection. Stretching out on “Maybe Someday,” Richie’s dynamic vocal creates emotional urgency when matched with the flowing rhythm section. And on “I Did It For The Girl,” Michael’s guitar twists land evenly with Keech’s percussive turns. Dean’s ringing piano melody adds sonic depth and by the time Richie leans into the line, I knew Rebecca had her eye on me, when I came up for air she said, ‘Boy you’re crazy,’ the band is in high gear.
While the consciously modern lyrics of songs like the jilted tale, “How Can She Be Everywhere,” catch the ear with references to YouTube and Facebook, Life As We Know It stands out for easygoing numbers that balance nostalgia with self-aware humor. On the shuffling “Pretty Good Day” it’s a quick line about the relief that comes with not seeing yourself in the obituaries. The good-natured “I Miss When” delivers a string of relatable anecdotes involving time-honored, ‘glory days’ topics like the girl next door and mowing lawns for extra cash. Richie does an excellent job connecting with the audience here by emphasizing the sort of universal simple pleasures bound to make listeners smile. I miss when time moved slower and too loud sounded good, he sings with a nudge. Willing to shake things up with funky rhythms and a horn section, “Oh Yeah” details the group’s early years where guitar amps and a two-car garage were a little slice of heaven before turning to thank all the fans that brought Lonestar this far.
Set to sentimental piano and warm strings, the stirring ballad “Just The Rain” provides the album’s most striking moments through its vivid depiction of loss.I can feel you on my skin / but to them, it’s only the wind, Richie sings, easing patiently into each new line while building tension. This sort of drama and emotion, packed into each new passage, showcases a skilled group of musicians with an undeniable chemistry, and on Life As We Know It, that’s a welcome note for fans waiting on new material.
Key Tracks – “Just The Rain,” “Pretty Good Day,” “I Miss When,” “Maybe Someday”