A famous saloon and a drinking song have made the country band Lonestar the newest toast of the town.
The new BNA Records group got its big break by playing as the house band at Nashville’s famous Wildhorse Saloon, then vaulted to success with its debut single, “Tequila Talkin’.”
“The Lonestar sound … you’d have to see our live show for me to really explain it,” John Rich, one of the two lead singers, told Country Weekly. “Everybody plays their parts like a big puzzle onstage. If one person’s missing, the show’s not the same. We tried to capture that on the album. We think the album’s something you can listen to at high volume and not get bored with it.”
The self‑titled album was released Oct. 10. Personnel in addition to John, who also plays bass, are lead vocalist/guitarist Richie McDonald, keyboardist/background vocalist Dean Sams, drummer Keech Rainwater and guitarist/background vocalist Michael Britt. All hail from Texas, the Lone Star State.
Its name was suggested by Montana‑based super‑songwriter Kostas, after the band had performed for a time as Texasee (a combination of Texas and Tennessee, but that name confused a lot of people).
Lonestar’s sound has been compared favorably to Alabama, Brooks & Dunn and The Eagles. Randy Meisner, a member of The Eagles, heard Lonestar and was so impressed, sent a limo backstage to bring the band to his hotel for a chat.
The interest is mutual — the rocking quintet closes nearly every show with a rousing encore of The Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane,” which is usually preceded by a two‑minute drum solo.
Lonestar gained its initial fame as the first act ever to play Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon.
“The curtain opened, we did our first song and I looked to my left and there was still a guy sitting there soldering wires as we were singing,” Dean said with a laugh. “Every time I walked up to my microphone, I got shocked because something wasn’t grounded yet.” For a while, Lonestar was grounded as one of the Wildhorse’s regular acts.
“We were really thankful the Wildhorse came along when it did,” added McDonald. “The first year together, we did 260‑something dates. We knew that to get a record deal, we needed to be in town a lot more and try to make contacts. The Wildhorse enabled us to be home and knock on doors, and at the same time pay the bills.”
photo courtesy Lonestar