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MUSIC

Lonestar will rise Saturday to play Brickfest in Malvern

By JACK W. HILL SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published June 27, 2013 at 3:06 a.m.

lonestar

Lonestar

Correction: The Lonestar concert Saturday in Malvern, held in conjunction with Brickfest, will be in the Malvern City Park. The location was incorrect in this story.

Lonestar is synonymous with Texas.

But to country music fans, it’s synonymous with Texas and Tennessee, as Lonestar - a two-decades and running band - was founded in Tennessee by Texans who met while working at the Opryland USA theme park.

Lonestar, which will headline Malvern’s Brickfest on Saturday, has not had an unbroken road to fame and glory. The band lost original lead singer Richie McDonald in 2007, but he has returned to the fold.

“I left for about five years,” McDonald says. “I wanted to do solo things and spend more time with my family.There was never any ill will, everybody was cool about it, and eventually we started talking about how good it would be to get back together. So we got back together and we’re having more fun than we’ve ever had.

“We’re all healthy and we all still have a passion for doing this, and the good Lord willing, we want to keep doing this as long as we can.”

McDonald, a Lubbock native, started the band in 1992 with guitarist Michael Britt from Fort Worth; drummer Keech Rainwater from Plano; and keyboardist Dean Sams from Garland. Originally the band included a bassist, but when that musician, John Rich, was fired in 1998, the band chose to hire a bassist when touring and to use a session musician when recording.

(During McDonald’s departure, the band had a new lead singer, Cody Collins, who had been in the band McAlyster. Collins was let go and now is part of a country tribute show in Las Vegas. When Collins left in 2011, the band’s first new McDonald-era single, “The Countdown,” was released in late 2012. The song is the opening cut on the band’s latest CD, Life As We Know It, released June 4, on the band’s 4 Star Records, created to give the band creative control.

“It’s the first album we’ve ever produced ourselves,” McDonald says. “It’s more‘us’ than it’s ever been before. When I got back with the guys, we thought it was a good time to venture out on our own. Now, if we do something wrong, we have only ourselves to blame, but we’ve learned a lot over the years.

“We’re putting the pedal to the metal as far as touring behind the new album, also. We’re doing from 90 to 100 shows this year, determined to get the music to the fans, wherever they are. We’re playing fairs, festivals, some casinos and even intimate theater atmospheres. Whether it’s 30,000 or 300, it doesn’t matter to us - we just love being on stage, entertaining.”

Of the album’s 12 songs, McDonald co-wrote seven, while Sams co-wrote six and Britt co-wrote three. Rainwater, who did no writing, wasn’t resting on his drum riser, however, as McDonald points out the drummer has been contributing in a different way.

“Keech has followed us around with a camera, going back to since we got started, when we traveled around in a Jeep Grand Cherokee pulling a trailer,” McDonald says. “He compiled a lot of footage into a DVD we’re calling Life As We Knew It, and it’s thanks to Keech’s true love, photography and making videos. He’s really good at it, and we made our last video with his equipment.”

Lonestar performed in October at Oaklawn Park racetrack in Hot Springs.

Lonestar

8:30-10 p.m. Saturday, (Jody Evans 5-6 p.m.;Riverbilly Trio 6:30-8 p.m.) Brickfest, Summit Stage, Hot Spring County Courthouse Square, Malvern

Admission: Free

(501) 458-1115

malvernbrickfest.com

Weekend, Pages 35 on 06/27/2013

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