Cracking a few jokes along the way, Lonestar previewed selections from its upcoming album, Coming Home, during a Tuesday (July 19) luncheon at the RCA/Sony offices in Nashville.
Tom Baldrica, vice president of national promotion for the RCA Label Group, introduced them to the crowd. Noting that the new album — the Lonestar’s eighth — will be out Sept. 13, Baldrica also pointed out that the band has sold 10 million albums.
Lead singer Richie McDonald told the audience that once it was decided that Dann Huff, the band’s former producer, would not be producing the new album, he went to Wal-Mart and bought 15 CDs to check out what other producers were doing. He said they decided to go with Justin Niebank after hearing a demo he had produced. [Niebank's production credits range from Marty Stuart and Jeff Carson to Blues Traveler and Leftover Salmon.]
Backed by four other players, Lonestar opened Tuesday’s performance with “You’re Like Comin’ Home,” the first single from the new album.
“We’d love to play you the whole record,” McDonald said afterward, “but that would take approximately 44 minutes and 5 seconds. So we’ll just do about five songs.”
They followed with what amounted to an apology for gender, “I Am a Man.” Then McDonald introduced the next selection, “Little Town,” by saying, “This is without doubt my favorite song. It’s about real places and real people. … You take those little towns and you add ‘em all up, and it’s about three million records — or more.”
McDonald described the conscientiously euphoric “I’ll Die Tryin’” as the album’s “big ballad,” adding that this was the first time the band had performed it live. Still, they brought it off without a hitch.
Backing the quartet were acoustic guitarist-vocalist Jack Sizemore, steel guitarist Jeremy Moyers, fiddler-mandolinist Rob Tyler and bassist-vocalist Robbie Cheuvront. McDonald sympathized with Cheuvront for having to sing ever higher than he does on “I’ll Die Tryin’,” adding, “He’ll probably leave.”
Joking about the band’s turnovers in personnel, McDonald continued, “Lonestar has an open door policy. You leave and you can come back.”
Keyboardist Dean Sams responded, “John Rich left, and he hasn’t come back. But he’ll be back.”
“I don’t think so,” said McDonald. “I think he’s laughing at us.”
Rich was an original member of the band before striking out on a solo career and then finally making it big as half of Big & Rich.
Lonestar wrapped up the set with the mock doleful “Doghouse.”