Lonestar returns to the Peak
Lonestar will be at Penn’s Peak Friday. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app to see a video of Lonestar. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
On the heels of a 15-year greatest hits album anniversary, Lonestar will bring its extensive catalog to Penn’s Peak Friday.
The country-quartet, formed in 1995, is best known for the wedding day staple, “Amazed.”
“That song was on the charts for a long time, it’s definitely our biggest song,” said lead guitarist Michael Britt.
“It’s cool to be a part of those special days,” he said of the love ballad.
Britt, along with lead vocalist and piano player Richie McDonald, Keech Rainwater on drums and Dean Sams on keyboard, make up the long-running group.
Lonestar has 10 number-one billboard hits, a 2001 GMA award for best vocal group and more than 10 albums. This will be its fourth appearance at the Carbon County venue.
“It’s a cool place to play,” said Britt.
“We will have a little bit of everything. Some songs we’ve played for years and some we had to go back and listen to,” he said of the upcoming show.
“We just get bored playing the same songs over and over so we morphed them. The song ‘You Walked In,’ we had to go back and listen to the original.”
Though the band has experienced two decades of longevity, it was not without problems, being handed off between record labels and revolving band members.
The Texas natives were picked up by the famed Nashville-based BNA record label in 1995 and went on to record numerous number one singles including, “What About Now,” “Mr. Mom,” “You Walked In,” and of course its biggest hit to date, “Amazed.”
The band started to record and perform generic radio country, sticking to a non-risk- taking groove resulting in a drop from the BNA label after commercial success declined and the band was criticized for producing the same record over and over again.
Britt has blamed the label for the stagnation in its growth, saying, “It had a lot to do with which singles are leased when you sign. When you’re on a label treadmill, they pick the songs to release.”
McDonald had different ideas about which songs should be singles and left the band after the label ignored his suggestions in 2007 with the release of the album “Mountains.”
McDonald was replaced by Cody Collins, and the group released a Christmas album straight to Cracker Barrel’s gift shop, while McDonald released a solo contemporary Christian album.
The group took a break from recording, and in 2011, McDonald returned to the band and released “Party Heard Around the World,” under new label Saguaro Road Records.
“Now we put out records when we want to,” said Britt.
Lonestar still hits the road hard 20 years later, playing anywhere from 70 to 80 shows a year.
“We have great crowds in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. We’ve grown up a little bit,” he said.
“When you have a record label involved and people pulling you in different directions, it’s harder to keep a band together but now we do our own thing more,” he said.
The current tour features a reflective look back on the band’s extensive catalog, changing the compositions and tempos of favorite songs.
“We do a ballad medley that we put together. We end with ‘Tell Her.’ There was a violin solo there but they let me change it to a guitar solo, and we do a cover of Beatles’ ‘Let It Be.’ Those songs are the ones I look forward to most. I get to really shine with the guitar on those.”
According to Britt, changing careers was never an option, even during the most troubled times.
“We just don’t want to get other jobs. We just really like doing what we’re doing. We always loved playing music. There is nothing else we’d rather be doing,” he said.
Britt said the crowd can expect to hear their hits and some surprises.
“We always throw some crazy stuff in at the end, like Pink Floyd or Styx. We throw the kitchen sink at them to make sure everyone has a good time, even non-country fans.”
Doors for the concert open at 6 p.m., with the show starting at 8 p.m.
Also coming to the Peak
• Saturday, Melvin Seals and JGB, 8 p.m.
• March 9, Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot, 8 p.m.
• March 10, Rhythm in the Night — The Irish Dance Spectacular, 8 p.m.
• March 23, Jay & the Americans and The Brooklyn Bridge, 8 p.m.
• March 24, Lorrie Morgan, 8 p.m.
• March 25, Daughtry, 8 p.m.
• April 4, Robin Trower, 8 p.m.
• April 6, Lita Ford and FireHouse, 8 p.m.
• April 18, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, 7 p.m.
Tickets are available for all shows at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak Box Office and Roadies Restaurant and Bar.
For more information on Penn’s Peak, go to www.pennspeak.com or call 866-605-7325.