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‘Lonestar’ wows crowd


It may have been a smaller crowd than organizers wanted but “Lonestar” managed to whip them into a frenzy during their concert Friday night at the Emo fall fair.

The renowned country quartet opened with “Crazy Nights,” the title track of their latest album, then belted out two more songs before taking a break from singing.

All the while, the crowd gathered at the front of the stage grew bigger.

At first, it was composed of a couple dozen young teenagers. But as the concert went on, more and more country fans--young and old alike--came down from the grandstand to dance in front of the stage.

“We felt like we got a good response,” noted lead singer Ritchie McDonald, who ventured into the grandstand early on in the concert with a cordless microphone to mingle with the crowd.

“For them to know the songs and sing along, it feels good,” added pianist and back-up vocalist Dean Sams.

The band, which also included guitarist Michael Britt and drummer Keech Rainwater, treated the audience with a veritable smorgasbord of their previous hits, such as “Tequila Talkin’” and “Say When,” not to mention their first #1 hit “No News,” which stayed on top of the charts for three consecutive weeks in 1996.

They also gave fans a sneak peek at their new album, singing “This Old Ring,” which will be recorded when the group goes back into the studio in October.

Keeping the audience happy is important, the band said, whether the crowd is made up of several hundred people or several thousand.

“We try not to let them be too much different between them,” Britt remarked. “We have just as much fun with people that had fun [regardless of crowd size.]”

Their crowd-pleasing attitude didn’t go unnoticed. Danette MacDonald of Fort Frances said the concert was wonderful, and she even got a chance to go backstage to meet the group afterwards.

“They’re way down to earth,” she said after getting her picture taken with the group. “It’s nice of them to do such great PR work after the show.”

Once the autographs were signed and the instruments were packed up, “Lonestar” had a 26-hour bus trip to Pennsylvania to look forward to en route to their next gig.

It seems like a pretty hectic schedule but band members shrugged the marathon bus rides off as routine.

“It’s just a part of it,” McDonald said. “It’s a way of life we’ve dreamed of.”

“We’ve got Sony Playstation and cable for the next 24 hours,” Rainwater laughed. “It really is kind of routine. It’s pretty much the same thing every day, just in a different place.”

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