Richie McDonald Leaves Lonestar for a Second Time
Lonestar frontman Richie McDonald has left the group, again. After rejoining the band in 2011, following his first departure from their lineup for some solo work, he's saying goodbye to join a trio.
Together with former Little Texas lead singer Tim Rushlow and Restless Heart lead singer Larry Stewart, McDonald comprises the Frontmen of Country, and the three have a robust tour schedule laid out for 2021. They've performed together several times over the years, but this trek will be their first time being backed by a full band.
“I’ve been with Lonestar for almost 30 years and have enjoyed my time with the guys. With everything that has happened in the past year, it has made me think about other things I want to do in life," McDonald says in a press release. "This opportunity with the Frontmen came up, and I’ve decided to go a new direction. I’ve always enjoyed performing with Tim and Larry, and I can’t wait to see how this new chapter unfolds."
McDonald, Michael Britt, Randy "Keech" Rainwater, Dean Sams and John Rich (now of Big & Rich) first began working together in 1992, as Texassee. They signed to BNA Records in January of 1995 and released their debut single, the Top 10 song "Tequila Talkin'," later that year. Rich left the band in 1998, and the song that was arguably Lonestar's biggest hit, "Amazed," became an eight-week country No. 1 and topped the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 in 1999.
Lonestar released nine albums in total before McDonald left the band for the first time at the end of 2007. He released a solo Christmas album that same year, and solo studio albums in 2008 and 2010, before reuniting with the group in 2011, after Cody Collins, who replaced him, left.
"I want to thank my bandmates Dean, Keech and Michael for a great run," McDonald says of this departure. "I wish them nothing but the best."
Lonestar's last studio album, Never Enders, arrived in 2016. A press release from the band's team shares that CMA- and ACM-winning singer-songwriter Drew Womack, formerly of Sons of the Desert, will replace McDonald as Lonestar's lead singer.