Lonestar headlining WAYZ Fun Fest

August 13, 1998

LonestarBy TERI JOHNSON / Staff Writer

Listen carefully when Lonestar performs some new songs Sunday at WAYZ Fun Fest.

Your response can help the country group choose the tunes for its third album, keyboard player Dean Sams said.

Lonestar plans to start recording in October, and the members will be testing some possible songs when they take the stage at the all-day country music celebration in Rouzerville, Pa.

Don't expect Sams, who also plays harmonica and sings background vocals, to make a quiet appearance.

Sams said he always is doing something nutty.

--cont. from lifestyle--

"I can't stand still; I'm always moving and dancing," Sams said via cellular phone as he and his baby daughter, Britney, drove around in his Jeep Grand Cherokee doing errands in Nashville, Tenn.


That characteristic led the group's guitarist, Michael Britt, to call Sams Lonestar's official "dancing machine."

Sams said he doesn't consider himself a good dancer; he's just showing how the music affects him.

The group, which also includes lead singer Richie McDonald and drummer Keech Rainwater, relies heavily on audience participation at concerts, Sams said.

"We tend to get really crazy when the crowd's into it," he said.

That could include jumping into the audience or climbing things, depending on the moment.

Lonestar's current single is "Everything's Changed," and the band also made a major change earlier this year.

Lonestar had two lead singers, McDonald and John Rich, until its BNA Records label decided to drop one.

Sams said Rich's dismissal was a tough but necessary decision, and that they still are friends.

"When you have two strong singers, it can be hard to share the spotlight," Sams said.

The label felt McDonald had the more recognizable voice, Sams said.

Sams, who also is a songwriter and producer, said it's harder for a group to become known than it is for an individual singer.

"It's such a tough market right now, and so many artists are trying to make it," he said.

Lonestar, founded by Sams and McDonald in 1993, played 500 shows in the two years before its members signed a recording contract.

Things really started happening after Lonestar was named Academy of Country Music's top new vocal group in 1996, Sams said.

The group's self-titled debut album has been certified gold. That album and its follow-up, "Crazy Nights," have yielded the No. 1 singles "No News" and "Come Cryin' to Me."

The group, whose members hail from Texas but now live in the Nashville area, is doing about 150 shows this year. That keeps them on the road about 200 days.

That's why his recent outing with Britney, who turns 1 this month, was so important to Sams.

He went to lunch with his wife, Kim, an insurance manager, then he and Britney headed for the cleaners and Toys R Us. Father and daughter also had a chance to play after he packed for a trip to New York that afternoon.

Another joy was celebrating his 32nd birthday in Nashville last week, with a home-cooked dinner and cake.

"I don't remember the last time I got to be home on my birthday," he said.

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