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Lonestar

Everything's Changed – 1999 (BNA)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Lonestar

With this album, Lonestar sets itself apart from the sound-alike bands on the radio. To start with, the soft twang in lead singer Richie McDonald's voice makes it recognizable, and it's perfectly suited for the sweet love songs here, like the album's first big hit, "Amazed," and "All the Way."

Second, the band and producer Dan Huff create a sound that's edgier and more interesting than the bland country-pop that dominates the airwaves. To be sure, Lonestar's music is New Country - it's just a lot more creative than the norm. On "Saturday Night," for instance, a sawing fiddle, organ, occasional steel, and assorted percussion sounds transform a banal song into a catchy, hummable tune. "Don't Let's Talk About Lisa" is another ordinary song whose arrangement makes it special. The song features a mandolin and an accordion and ends with a rap segment mentioning Mark McGwire and Marilyn Manson, among many others. The album also features some standout ballads. "Amazed" is an incredible love song, and "Smile" is an achingly beautiful song about lost love. This album is definitely a cut above standard New Country.