Lonestar Have a ‘New Lease on Life’ With New Album + Tour [Interview]
Lonestar are back with a new album and a new singer, and longtime guitarist Michael Britt says the hitmakers have a "new lease on life."
Singer Drew Womack joins Lonestar for their new album, Ten to 1, which features ten of the group's biggest hits in new re-recordings with the current lineup. The collection kicks off with the group's first hit, "No News," and progresses chronologically through songs including “Come Cryin’ to Me,” “Everything’s Changed,” “Amazed,” “Smile,” “What About Now,” “Tell Her,” “I’m Already There,” “My Front Porch Looking In” and “Mr. Mom.”
Britt points to "Come Cryin' to Me" as the song that's changed the most dramatically in the new version, and they've made some changed to "Mr. Mom" and "No News," as well, while other songs just got a simple refresh.
With the exception of Womack, the current lineup of Lonestar remains unchanged from its most successful era. Britt, keyboardist Dean Sams and drummer Keech Rainwater round out the band in 2023, and Britt says they've never been more solid.
"It's kind of crazy that we've lived so long with each other," he reflects. "And now we're just to the point where we can kind of finish each other's sentences ... so there's a mutual respect that we've learned. You know, we've gone through so much stuff; there have been so many chances for us to give up, and we never did."
"After (lead singer) Richie (McDonald) left the first time in 2008, we had a different singer for a bit. And then he came back in 2012. (Original bass player and singer) John Rich left the band in '98. It's just, we've gone through ... people leave in adversity, where most people would think, 'Oh, they're done, they're not going to be able to keep going.' And we always keep going and all that because we work together," Britt shares.
"So even when Richie left this time (in 2021), it wasn't really much of a thought; we knew we could make it and get through it," he continues. "And I feel like we've come out better on the other side, because Richie's able to do what he wants to do, and we've got a singer that we truly believe in and feel like he fits so well. And that kind of gives us a new lease on life for a while."
Womack acquits himself remarkably well on songs that were crafted to suit McDonald's powerful upper range. Britt feels the band has never sounded better live.
"He's a trained singer; he went to college as an opera singer major," he points out. "So he's well-versed in how to get the best out of your voice and keep it in top shape all the time. And he's a consummate professional. He sings everything so perfectly night after night that it's actually easier for us to sing harmony with him, because we know exactly where it's going to be. We know exactly, he's going to be on pitch. So there's no excuse now for our harmonies not sounding great. It's just, it's been awesome. Having him in the band is like a light bulb going off, like, 'This is good as it can get.'"
Lonestar are set to release Ten to 1 on Friday (June 2), and they'll be on the road for much of the year on their Ten to 1 Tour, which launched in February and runs through Oct. 21.
"We love having a high-energy show with a lot of fan interaction," Britt states. "So I think having songs that people relate to over so many years, it helps us a ton because we can just go out there and play our hits and sing along, and it's a fun time for everybody. We also try to throw in a couple crazy things at the end that people might not be expecting."