A meeting between four Texans working at Opryland USA in Nashville, Tennessee launched a musical collaboration that has been producing hits for two decades.
Country music group Lonestar has been making music together for 20 years and have embarked on a North America tour that will have them pulling into the Gallo Center for the Arts for a show at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Over the course of their 20 years together, Lonestar has amassed record sales of more than 10 million copies and hit the top of the country charts 10 times. The band's awards include a 1999 Academy of Country Music Single of The Year for “Amazed,” which also won the Song of the Year award, and the 2001 Country Music Association Vocal Group of the Year.
"Twenty years ago, when we put this little band together to play in some bars and make a little money, I dreamed it pretty good," admits keyboard player and songwriter Dean Sams. "But I never dreamed it quite this good."
Their current tour is also a reunion of sorts with original lead singer Richie McDonald rejoining the band after a few years of working on his solo career.
Lonestar played over 500 shows in bars and clubs before landing a recording contract with BNA Records.
"We traveled for two and a half, maybe three years, just playing in bars," lead guitarist Michael Britt said. "We were starting from zero back then."
Their first single, "Tequila Talkin'," went Top Ten on the country charts, and their follow-up, “No News” did even better. Lonestar continued to ascend in the years that followed. Their third album, 1999's “Lonely Grill,” was certified multi-platinum in both the United States and Canada. In addition to "Amazed," which was #1 with country audiences for eight weeks in a row, the album yielded three more #1 country hits with "Smile," "Tell Her," and "What About Now." The 2001 release of “I'm Already There” topped the country album charts, as did the band's 2003 retrospective “From There To Here: The Greatest Hits,” which produced yet another #1 single, "My Front Porch Looking In."
Lonestar is currently hard at work making a new, self-produced album.
"It's kind of a no-brainer for us to come along at this stage in our careers and say, 'Yes, we can produce our own music.' After all, nobody knows what Lonestar should sound like better than Lonestar," says drummer Keech Rainwater. "I'm proud that as a band, collectively, we're smart enough to know what we need to do and how to get it done."
Tickets for the concert range in price from $25 to $55, and may be purchased online at www.galloarts.org, by calling (209) 338-2100, or from the Gallo Center ticket office at 1000 I Street in downtown Modesto.