The award-winning Lonestar band has been one of the most celebrated groups in country music since the early 1990s when they began cranking out hits over hits.
Throughout the years, Lonestar has charted over twenty singles on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, and this includes nine hits ranking No. 1. Some of the most popular Lonestar songs are “What About Now,” “My Front Porch Looking In,” and “Come Cryin’ to Me.”
The band’s signature track, “Amazed,” even spent nine weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart during the summer of 1999 and, at the same time, climbed to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100. This made Lonestar band the first country act to achieve such a feat since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream” in 1983. The song even helped the band earn its first nominations from Country Music Association in the categories of Single of the Year and Group of the Year.
Without a doubt, the country band has gained a pretty good following and a strong fan base. And if you’re one of them, we know you’re super thrilled to get to know more about our favorite band. So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Lonestar country band.
Where It All Began
While you might think the country band’s journey began in Texas, Lonestar band was actually born in Tennessee. The band – which is originally comprised of Richie McDonald, John Rich, Michael Britt, Dean Sams, and Keech Rainwater – met in Nashville, Tennessee’s Opryland USA theme park in 1992 and kicked things off as a band called Texassee, which is a combination of their home state Texas and newly found home in Tennessee. After all, all of them are, in fact, Texas natives.
Before Lonestar’s foundation, drummer Keech Rainwater and lead guitarist Michael Britt were actually members of the country music group Canyon, which released two studio albums and charted nine songs on the country chart. After Canyon disbanded, Britt and Rainwater became members of Texassee, which later changed its name to Lonestar.
Lonestar’s Rose To Fame Was Swift
In 1993, Lonestar took center stage of Backstage Pass in Nashville during their first concert ever. As luck would have it, a booking agent happened to be at the show and was fully taken aback. So, he added Lonestar to his roster, and the group began kicking off on the road.
Over the next two years, Lonestar played in about 500 shows. In 1994, they landed a record contract with BNA Records and finally released their eponymous debut album titled Lonestar Live.
And as expected, their songs were warmly welcomed by country fans. In fact, their debut single, “Tequila Talkin’,” peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Since then, Lonestar’s career has not slowed down one bit.
A Number Of Lineup Changes Throughout The Years
After touring together for six years, John Rich – who was the band’s bass guitarist and, on some occasions, the lead singer – left the group to pursue a solo career. Despite the change, the other four members started performing unplugged shows that also featured acoustic renditions of their songs. They even reinvented their sound by adding three members to their touring band: Jeremy Moyers (steel guitar), Kurt Baumer (fiddle), and Robbie Cheuvront (bass guitar).
In 1999, Lonestar then found its greatest success with the release of its third album, Lonely Grill. While the album’s lead, “Saturday Night,” didn’t go very far, its follow-up single became the band’s first crossover hit – that song was “Amazed.” All of the other singles from Lonely Grill¸ also entered the country charts. As a result, the album was certified double-platinum by the RIAA.
The Millennium was a great period of time for the group as well, as they released their fourth album, I’m Already There – with its title track turning out to be another monster hit and helping them take home Vocal Group of the Year during 2001 Country Music Association’s award.
In early 2007, however, lead singer Richie McDonald announced he would be leaving the band. Just like John Rich, McDonald pursued a solo career and released his solo debut album, I Turn to You.
The remaining three members found themselves debating whether they would replace McDonald or just split up, but eventually decided to add a new lead singer, Cody Collins. Collins came on board that same year and was introduced during the Nashville Showcase. He had previously been the lead singer of the country music group McAlyster.
The newly formed Lonestar then released a Christmas music compilation called My Christmas List, with Collins as lead singer.
In 2011, Collins left the band, and McDonald rejoined the group after his solo career also failed to catch fire. To celebrate McDonald’s return – as well as the band’s twentieth anniversary – Lonestar started an international tour and released quite a few singles.
Fast forward to ten more years, and McDonald found himself saying goodbye to Lonestar the second time around. In announcing his exit in 2021, McDonald said that while he enjoyed performing with Lonestar for nearly three decades, he has thought about other things he wants to do in life. McDonald has joined the trio called The Frontmen of Country – which is composed of Restless Heart frontman Larry Stewart and Little Texas singer Tim Rushlow.
McDonald was replaced by former Sons of the Desert frontman Drew Womack.
Their Fame Also Landed Them On The Small Screen
With fans’ clamor, Lonestar often makes TV appearances as well. This includes Richie McDonald competing on one episode of the television game show Wheel of Fortune that aired in February 2003.
The episode was recorded at none other than the Grand Ole Opry house in Nashville. It was part of a special week wherein contestants were matched up with country stars, who would be donating the same amount their respective contestants would win. McDonald donated to the Christian organization Habitat for Humanity, which aims to bring people together in building homes and communities.
All four Lonestar band members also appeared in different episodes.
Another TV appearance of the group was on the television game show The Price Is Right, where they served as the house band on an episode that aired in 2010.
Here’s Lonestar’s Vast Discography
Early on, Lonestar drew from their honky-tonk and neotraditional country influences with the likes of George Jones and Merle Haggard but later shifted toward a more country pop sound and firmly into the mainstream of the contemporary country. They left behind staunch country influences on the side of sweet-sounding country rockers and romantic anthemic hymns.
Check out below the list of albums Lonestar released throughout the years.
- 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)
Indeed, regardless of some changeups in their roster throughout the years, Lonestar band remained to make incredible music – making them one of the best country bands of all time.