Browse by Title
V W X Y Z #  

Richie McDonald of Lonestar
Lonestar had quite a run around the turn of the century. Their 1999 single "Amazed" spent 30 weeks climbing the Hot 100 until finally landing at #1 for two weeks in March, 2000, becoming the first country song to top the chart since "Islands in the Stream." The song has crossed borders as well as genres: in the UK, it remains the most popular selection for the first dance at wedding receptions (according to PRS For Music, which surveyed DJs to find out). A string of Country #1s followed: "Smile," "What About Now," "Tell Her." Their next chart-topper, "I'm Already There," took on a life of its own after 9/11 when many families were separated by war's cruel fate.

Formed in 1992, Lonestar - lead singer Richie McDonald, guitarist Michael Britt, keyboardist Keech Rainwater, drummer Dean Sams and bass player John Rich (since departed for Big & Rich) - worked up songs and played the bars before releasing their first album in 1995, scoring their first Country #1 with the lighthearted "No News." In 2007, lead singer Richie McDonald left for a solo career, but he has since returned to the fold. In April, 2013, Lonestar played before a huge crowd at California's Stagecoach festival where they not only played many of their biggest hits, but also sang some songs from Life as We Know It, the band's first studio album since Richie's return.
Richie McDonald of Lonestar
Dan MacIntosh (Songfacts): I'd like to get your thoughts on some of your more famous songs. It's been 20 years, and that's a long time for any band to be together. It's a long time these days for any marriage to last.

Richie McDonald: No doubt.

Songfacts: "Amazed" is probably your signature song. Do you still enjoy singing that song? And what is it that song means to you?

Richie: Well, I absolutely still enjoy singing it. I know Michael Britt and Dean Sams enjoy performing it every night, as well. Artists wait for a song like that to come along that can take their career to another level, and that song did that for Lonestar, and that's something that we'll never forget. And it's not just the impact that it had on our careers, but the impact that it has on the fans. I mean, 10 years later it still has the same effect.

That song to me is just a classic, timeless song. And it is that song that took Lonestar to another level. We will never, ever get tired of playing that song, just because we still have fans come up to us night after night saying that's the song they got married to, the song they use on their anniversary. That's what music is supposed to be about: if you can get in touch with people's emotions, you can become a part of their story, as well. We've made an impact on people's lives and that means more than anything to us.

Songfacts: I can't imagine what it's like as an artist to think that a song that I performed would be the first dance at somebody's wedding. But I'm sure that that's one of those songs that must get played at countless wedding receptions.

Richie: Still to this day. I have a friend who's a DJ and he says he plays it at every single wedding that he performs at. The problem is that sometimes you try to recreate that, but you can't recreate that. You've just got to go in; it kind of sets the bar awful high. But I'd love to write another "Amazed" without writing another "Amazed." But "Amazed" was, like you said, our signature song.

But "I'm Already There" was a big song for us, too, being adopted by the men and women in the military back in 2001 after 9/11. And this was a song that I wrote about being away from my family and a song that we could relate to every single night in the band being away from our families. But after 9/11 it took on a whole new meaning, especially with the men and women in the military. They spend years away from their families, and it put things in perspective for us.

But again, that's just the power of music. It's a song that came along at a certain time in the history, and something happened and it left a mark in people's minds. I think we've always had songs that have done that. "My Front Porch Looking In," "Mr. Mom," "No News" - even "No News" is just a quirky little song that we still get tons of requests for. "What About Now." We've had a lot of songs over the years that have made impacts, some bigger than others.

Songfacts: I talk to songwriters a lot, and sometimes a gimmicky song will be their #1 song and they'll have to play this novelty record every show they do for the rest of their lives. So whenever I get to talk to somebody that their most popular songs are also really darn good songs, I just think that's such a blessing.

Richie: Oh, absolutely.

Songfacts: When you wrote "I'm Already There," did you have any idea that it could be used in other contexts, or were you just thinking about trying to express that feeling of trying to survive separation?

Richie: I remember to this day, having that conversation with my little 4 year old son Rhett. He was 4, now he's 17. But I remember that night clearly to this day, just hearing that little squeaky voice saying, "Daddy, when you comin' home?" And when you're gone for 6 weeks at that point, you just hang up the phone and you cry and you think, you know what, physically maybe I'm not there, but mentally I'm already there. I'll never forget sitting in that hotel room in Southern California and just thinking, "I'm already there." There's an idea. And that's where it came from.

But it was a way to help me through the separation at the time. Songwriting, for me, a lot of times it's therapy. Just the chance to spill my guts out on a piece of paper or a computer or whatever it is and to put it to music.

You never have an idea that it's going to have an impact, but that's the great thing about country music: it's just, I do what I do. But there's somebody in the Army or the Navy or a truck driver or a pilot out there that basically does the same thing that I do, they're away from their families. But I just had to write about it and express it and then if they feel the same way, that's great. I just never imagine that it's going to touch people the way it does.

Songfacts: Does your son remember that experience when you talk to him now?

Richie: Yeah, he does. He doesn't forget it. He knows what that song means, even to this day he does.

Songfacts: Is he musical?

Richie: Yeah. He is. He's a really, really accomplished guitar player at 17 years old. We encourage him to do what he wants to do, and hopefully he gets an education, but continues to grow as a guitar player and follow his dream.

Songfacts: A friend of mine wanted me to talk about her favorite song of yours, which is "I've Gotta Find You."

Richie: Oh, wow. [Singing], "I've got this dream that won't go away," that was off the Lonely Grill album. That's a song that I wrote with Ron Harbin, a really good friend of mine, and that's one of my favorite songs. Golly, that's so long ago. But what I love about that song is that when we were writing it, Ron goes, "Well, what if we do the verses down here, then you just hop up and do an octave in the chorus?" And he goes, "You can do that, you can sing that. Not too many people can, but you can do it." So that's what we did. I think people always are searching for that one special person, and that's what that song talks about.

Songfacts: Do you have any particular favorites off of the new album?

Richie McDonald of LonestarRichie: One of my favorites has to be "Just the Rain." To me it's just one of those songs. I wrote it with a co-writer friend of mine, Jeremy Bussey. He came in one day over at my house and he goes, "Man, I've got this idea about when I go back home to Alabama, I drive by my grandparents' house and I just sit there in the front and I sit in my truck and I just look at that front porch and those rocking chairs are still up there. I can still see them there. I see them like it was yesterday. I've got this idea called 'Just the Rain.'" And that's what it talks about - people drop by and see this guy sitting on the front porch and they think he's crazy. And when it starts raining they think it's the rain, but he thinks it's tears.

I love what that song says, and I think a lot of people can relate to it. So many people have lost someone, and if it starts raining, they might think, hey, those are teardrops.

That's one of my favorites, but from beginning to end it's probably my favorite album that we've ever recorded. I like the song, "How Can She Be Everywhere," just because it's rockin', it's quirky, it's just a little left of center. I don't know if the fans will. It kind of reminds me a little bit of "No News," but it's a little edgier. I'm excited for our fans to hear that song and to hear other ones, as well.

"The Countdown," I love the tempo of that and love the edginess of that song, too.

Songfacts: Well, it's so good to hear you say that you like this album so much. I guess we can be a little cynical when we see our favorite groups get back to the original lineups, and we think, 'Oh, they just want to make money.' But this sounds like it's really organic, like you guys really enjoy being together and making music together. As far as I can see you're doing it all for the right reasons.

Richie: Absolutely. That's one thing that we talked about when we got back together. We said, Look, let's just go have fun and cherish the moment. We had fun last time, before I took a break, but I don't think we really relished the moment. We don't really feel we could look back and remember what we accomplished, because we just didn't take time to enjoy it. So I think this time we're just recording music, having fun doing it, and cherishing every moment night after night, riding on the bus together, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

Songfacts: Well, you have yourself a great evening. I know it's probably pretty late for you there, but I imagine rock & rollers don't go to bed until pretty late anyhow, so I'm not keeping you up too late.

Richie: No, I'm staring at a computer screen. I'm just working on a song, actually. Work is never done.

Songfacts: So I've interrupted you writing a song. Shame on me.

Richie: No, I'm actually through. I'm just in Pro Tools tweaking things and making it sound better.

May 30, 2013. Get more at


No Comments yet! Be the first to leave a comment!

Where are you from?
Your Comment
 security code

Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real GroupModern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real Group
The leader of the Modern A Cappella movement talks about the genre.
Classic MetalClassic Metal
Ozzy, Guns N' Roses, Judas Priest and even Michael Bolton show up in this Classic Metal quiz.
Francesca BattistelliFrancesca Battistelli
The 2011 Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards isn't your typical gospel diva, and she thinks that's a good thing.
Annie Haslam of RenaissanceAnnie Haslam of Renaissance
The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.

Search in Songwriter Interviews
Songwriter Interviews titles
Aaron Beam of Red Fang
Aaron Gillespie
Aaron Lewis
Adam Duritz of Counting Crows
Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne
Adam Young of Owl City
Al Anderson of NRBQ
Al Jourgensen of Ministry
Al Kooper
Alan Merrill of The Arrows
Alex Call (867-5309)
Allee Willis: Boogie Wonderland, Friends theme
Amanda Palmer
Amy Grant
Andy McClusky of OMD
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash
Angelo Moore of Fishbone
Ann Hampton Callaway
Anna Canoni about Woody Guthrie
Annie Haslam of Renaissance
Anthony Raneri of Bayside
Antigone Rising
Art Alexakis of Everclear
Asher Roth
Badi Assad
Bart Millard of MercyMe
Becca Stevens
Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl
Benny Mardones
Biff Byford of Saxon
Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers
Bill Withers
Billy Gould of Faith No More
Billy Joe Shaver
Billy Montana ("More Than A Memory" - Garth Brooks)
Billy Steinberg
Bo Bice
Bob Daisley
Bobby Liebling of Pentagram
Bobby Whitlock
Boz Scaggs
Brad Arnold from 3 Doors Down
Brad Smith of Blind Melon
Brandi Carlile
Brandon Heath
Brenda Russell
Brian "Head" Welch of Korn, Love and Death
Bronze Radio Return
Bruce Robison
Bryan Adams
Butch Vig
Buzz Osborne of the Melvins
Carol Kaye
Chad Channing (Nirvana, Before Cars)
Chad Urmston of Dispatch
Chan Kinchla of Blues Traveler
Charles Fox
Charlie Benante of Anthrax
Charlie Daniels
Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go's
Chris August
Chris Fehn of Slipknot
Chris Isaak
Chris Knight
Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes
Chris Squire of Yes
Chris Tomlin
Chris Willis
Chris Wilson of The Flamin' Groovies
Christopher Cross
Chuck Billy of Testament
Cody Hanson of Hinder
Colbie Caillat
Corey Hart
Craig Goldy of Dio
Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets
Cy Curnin of The Fixx
Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay
Dan Reed
Daniel Moore ("Shambala," "My Maria")
Danko Jones
Danny Kortchmar
Dar Williams
Darren King of MUTEMATH
Darryl Worley
Dave Clark
Dave Innis of Restless Heart
Dave Mason
Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum
Dave Stewart of Eurythmics
Dave Wakeling of The English Beat
Dean Pitchford
Denny Randell
Desmond Child
Devin Townsend
Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)
Dez Fafara of DevilDriver and Coal Chamber
Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)
Dino Cazares of Fear Factory
Don Brewer of Grand Funk
Don Felder
Donald Fagen
Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)
Dr. John
Dropkick Murphys
dUg Pinnick of King's X
Duncan Phillips of Newsboys
Dwight Twilley
Eddie Carswell of NewSong
Eddie Reeves
Edwin McCain
El Sloan of Crossfade
Elvin Bishop
Emilio Castillo from Tower of Power
Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls
Emmylou Harris
Eric Burdon
Eric Kretz of Stone Temple Pilots
Francesca Battistelli
Francis Rossi of Status Quo
Gary Brooker of Procol Harum
Gary Lewis
Gary Louris of The Jayhawks
Gary Numan
Gentle Giant
Georgia Middleman of Blue Sky Riders
Gilby Clarke
Glen Burtnik
Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket
Gordon Bahary
Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)
Graham Parker
Graham Russell of Air Supply
Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Greg Puciato of Killer Be Killed and Dillinger Escape Plan
Gretchen Peters (Independence Day)
Guy Clark
Gym Class Heroes
Hal Ketchum
Harold Brown of War
Harry Shearer
Hayes Carll
Henry McCullough
Henry Paul of The Outlaws, Blackhawk
Holly Knight
Holly Williams
Howard Bellamy
Howard Jones
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull
Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"
Ian Astbury of The Cult
Ian Thornley of Big Wreck
Ingrid Croce
J.D. Souther
Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees
Jake Owen
James Williamson of Iggy & the Stooges
Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed
Jamie O'Neal
Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Go`s
Janis Ian
Jann Klose
Jaret Reddick of Bowling for Soup
Jason Michael Carroll
Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)
Jason Reeves
Jason Roy of Building 429
Jay Graydon
Jeff Walker of Carcass
Jello Biafra
Jeph Howard of The Used
Jeremy DePoyster of The Devil Wears Prada
Jess Origliasso of The Veronicas
Jesse Valenzuela of Gin Blossoms
Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds
Jimbeau Hinson
Jimmy Jam
Jimmy Webb
JJ Burnel of The Stranglers
Jo Dee Messina
Joe Elliott of Def Leppard
Joe Ely
Joe Grushecky
Joe Jackson
Joe King Carrasco
Joe Rickard of Red
Joel Crouse
Joey + Rory
Joey Burns of Calexico
John Doe of X
John Gallagher of Raven
John Lee Hooker
John Oates
John Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls
John Waite
John Wheeler of Hayseed Dixie
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde
Johnny Winter
Jon Anderson of Yes
Jon Foreman of Switchfoot
Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Jon Tiven
Josh Kelley
Josh Shilling
Josh Thompson
Judas Priest
Julian Lennon
Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues
Kasim Sulton (Utopia, Meat Loaf)
Keith Morris of Black Flag and OFF!
Keith Reid of Procol Harum
Kelvin Swaby of The Heavy
Ken Block of Sister Hazel
Kenneth Nixon of Framing Hanley
Kenny Vance
Kerry Livgren of Kansas
Kim Thayil of Soundgarden
Kip Winger
Kirk Franklin
Kristian Bush of Sugarland
Kristine W
Kyle Nicolaides of Beware of Darkness
Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust
Larry Burnett of Firefall
Larry Wiegand of Crow
Laura Bell Bundy
Lee Ranaldo
Les Claypool
Leslie West of Mountain
Lindi Ortega
Lisa Loeb
Lita Ford
Little Big Town
Lori McKenna
Loudon Wainwright III
Louie Perez of Los Lobos
Lukas Nelson
Mac Powell of Third Day
Marc Roberge of O.A.R. (Of A Revolution)
Marcy Playground
Maria Muldaur
Maria Neckam
Mark Arm of Mudhoney
Marshall Crenshaw
Martin Gordon
Martin Page
Martin Smith of Delirous?
Martyn Ware of Heaven 17
Marvin Etzioni of Lone Justice
Mary Gauthier
Mat Kearney
Matt Pike of High On Fire
Matt Pryor of Get Up Kids
Matt Scannell of Vertical Horizon
Matt Sorum
Matt Thiessen of Relient K
Matthew West
Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)
Meshell Ndegeocello
Mia Doi Todd
Michael Bolton
Michael Franti
Michael Gilbert of Flotsam and Jetsam
Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root
Michael Schenker
Michael Sweet of Stryper
Michael W. Smith
Mick Jones of Foreigner
Mike Campbell
Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North
Mike Love of The Beach Boys
Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies
Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater
Miles Doughty of Slightly Stoopid
Millie Jackson
Mitch Myers about Shel Silverstein
Mitts of Madball
Mountain Heart
Neil Fallon of Clutch
Neil Giraldo
Nick Van Eede from Cutting Crew
Nick Waterhouse
Nick Wheeler of The All-American Rejects
Nina Persson of The Cardigans
Nona Hendryx
Oliver Leiber
Our Lady Peace
Pam Tillis
Pat Alger ("The Thunder Rolls", "Unanswered Prayers")
Paul Dean of Loverboy
Paul Evans
Paul Williams
Pegi Young
Penny Ford of Snap!
Pete Anderson
Peter Lord
Petula Clark
Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")
Philip Cody
Queensr├┐che founder Geoff Tate
Radney Foster
Ralph Casale - Session Pro
Randy Goodrum (Oh Sherrie)
Randy Houser
Randy Montana
Randy Newman
Randy Sharp (From Glen Campbell to Edgar Winter)
Randy Stonehill
Rebecca St. James
Reverend Horton Heat
Rhonda Vincent
Richard Hell
Richard Marx
Richard Patrick of Filter
Richie McDonald of Lonestar
Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)
Rick Finch
Rick Springfield
Rick Wartell of Trouble
Rik Emmett of Triumph
Robert Ellis
Roger Clyne
Rosanne Cash
Rupert Hine
Ryan Star
Sam Phillips
Sandy Chapin
Sarah Brightman
Scorpions Rudolf Schenker
Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders
Scott Jason of Thriving Ivory
Scott Stapp
Scotty Emerick (Beer For My Horses)
Sebu Simonian of Capital Cities
Serena Ryder
Seth Swirsky
Shane Volk of One Bad Son
Shaun Morgan of Seether
Shawn Smith of Brad
Shelby Lynne
Skip Ewing ("Love, Me," "The Gospel According To Luke")
Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D.
Speech of Arrested Development
Spooner Oldham
Squeeze: Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford
Stan Ridgway
Steel Magnolia
Stephen Christian of Anberlin
Steve "Zetro" Souza of Exodus and Hatriot
Steve Azar
Steve Hindalong of The Choir
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith
Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai
Sum 41
Sunny Sweeney
Supertramp founder Roger Hodgson
Tanita Tikaram
Taylor Dayne
Terry Cashman
Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")
Terry Taylor of Daniel Amos and Lost Dogs
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
The Dandy Warhols
The Fratellis
The Limousines
They Might Be Giants
Thomas Dolby
Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs
Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles
Tina Shafer
Tobin Esperance of Papa Roach
Toby Lightman
Todd Harrell of 3 Doors Down and 7dayBinge
Tom Gabel of Against Me!
Tom Johnston from The Doobie Brothers
Tom Keifer of Cinderella
Tommy James
Tommy Lee James ("She's My Kind Of Rain")
Toni Wine
Tonio K
Tony Hiller and Brotherhood of Man
Tony Joe White
Travis Stever of Coheed and Cambria
Trent Wagler of The Steel Wheels
Udo Dirkschneider (UDO, ex-Accept)
Van Dyke Parks
Vanessa Carlton
Ville Valo of HIM
Vince Clarke
Vince Gill
Vinny May of Kodaline
Vonda Shepard
Wayne Hussey of The Mission
Wayne Swinny of Saliva
Wednesday 13
Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit and Black Light Burns
Will Jennings
Yael Naim
Yoko Ono
Zac Hanson
Zakk Wylde
Other Songfacts Blogs
Songwriter Interviews
Song Writing
Music Quiz
Fact or Fiction
They're Playing My Song