Lonestar Celebrates Another No. 1 With Kudos and Kids

It was a shamelessly sentimental moment, the kind of which country music can be rightfully proud. At an awards ceremony Tuesday (July 17), the members of Lonestar sat at microphones performing their current hit, “I’m Already There,” a song about the pain of separation from family. What made the scene transcendent was that lead singer Richie McDonald held his daughter Molly on his knee as he sang, while keyboardist Dean Sams played with his daughter Britney cuddled in the crook of his arm. Before the song was over, McDonald’s son Rhett had also moved in to lean affectionately at Dad’s side.

The occasion for this altogether charming display was a reception BMI, the performance rights organization, hosted at its Nashville offices to honor McDonald for his part in co-writing the hit with Frank Myers and Gary Baker. “I’m Already There” is Lonestar’s fifth No. 1 single and has stayed at the top spot for six weeks. McDonald began weeping when he thanked Myers, who was in the audience, and Baker, who was not, for helping him complete the song “that magical day.” BMI also saluted the song’s publishers.

Representatives from BNA Records, Lonestar’s label, were out of town at a corporate meeting and could not attend the ceremony. But Tom Baldrica, BNA’s vice president of national promotion, faxed in the company’s congratulations. He recalled when Lonestar debuted the song during Country Radio Seminar and noted that “any time you can get a roomful of [radio] programmers to tear up, you know you’ve got something.”

“Country music is real music that connects with us on an emotional level,” said Ed Benson, executive director of the Country Music Association, as he presented the band a certificate of recognition. Benson labeled “I’m Already There” a “quintessential” country song.

BMI’s David Preston restored the tear-blinking crowd to a more festive mood when he announced, “It’s photo op time. I need a kid.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.