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"We’re never gonna sound just like a rock band because any time we play together we come out sounding like Lonestar." - Michael Britt

Posted: April 17, 2024
Drew is a consummate professional as a singer. I’ve never heard him have a bad night. His pitch, timing, and timbre are so consistent that it makes singing our trademark harmonies so easy and tight. He’s also a true artist/songwriter. His brain is always in creative mode and he’s just a superhuman to have around. I think we are so fortunate to find him again when we did.  

Photo credit: Lucinda Wickham

Some writers in the 1950s distinguished covers (where an artist did their own version of a song) from mere copies (where an artist tries to sound exactly like the original track). As the term entered popular usage, though, this distinction faded.

Often, they will refer to them as cover version, remake, or revival.I have listened to hundreds of artists covering songs, they had no business recording. I would cringe at that notion, that an artist was set to release a “remake”. Nothing comes close to the original. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. Who can forget the remake of the song “I will always love you” by Dolly Parton? I am not sure, that anyone could have mastered that song better than Dolly. Then in 1992 something surprising happened. Whitney Houston demolished the charts with her remake of “I will always love you”. I was totally impressed.

More importantly, what did Dolly have to say about it? Parton first heard Houston's rendition while she was driving in LA: “I turned the radio on, and suddenly, I heard that a cappella [opening]. I knew it was something familiar. By the time it dawned on me what I was hearing, when Whitney went into the chorus, I had to stop the car because I almost wrecked it.”

There have been other artists to use their talents to accomplish the same thing as Whitney Houston. However, they are few and far between.

Consider the late Gordon Lightfoot. Countless of top tier artists covered his music. I don’t recall one doing Gordon music justice. I could spend hours talking about this subject. However, I want to focus on an achievement by another band to accomplish the impossible. When I first read that “Lonestar” was going to release their rendition of the Fleetwood Mac song “You Make Loving Fun” I was shocked. Though, I thought it could be interesting. Lonestar is an extremely talented band. Since their debut of “Tequila Talkin” they went on to producing some unforgettable songs. Enriched with lyrics of the highest caliber.

If any band new what to do with an iconic song, it would be Lonestar. Once I gave the song a listen, I was hooked. Lonestar did it. A standing applause from Guitar Thrills Magazine.

It is our privilege to interview one of the best country bands on both sides of the Mississippi. Lonestar is headed by Drew Womack, Michael Britt, Dean Sams and Keech Rainwater.

INTERVIEW WITH LONESTAR AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts regarding this topic today. I know it is a topic built upon what you recently accomplished. You have done the unthinkable. Again, “I am amazed by you”. 😊 Seriously though. Great job on the release of “You Make Loving Fun”. Excellent video as well.

Guitar Thrills: What was the basis for your decision to cover a Fleetwood Mac song?

Michael Britt of Lonestar: This project started as just something to do for fun in our down time. Drew started singing “Time After Time” at soundcheck one day and we all thought it was so cool to hear him sing something that we aren’t used to male artists singing, so we talked about just passing tracks around that we would record at home. We did that and then someone had the idea of doing an EP of those type songs (female rock covers) and going into the studio and record them properly. At some point we all just decided we would each pick a cover song and the Fleetwood Mac song was Keech’s (our drummer) pick. I’ve always been a huge fan of Fleetwood Mac and I just love all the guitar on it.  

Guitar Thrills: You have mastered the country music genre. Did you have thoughts about transitioning over to rock? 

Michael Britt of Lonestar: I’ve always been the token rocker in the band, so that’s usually the influence I bring in, although I do love country as well. But my whole role has been to bring a little bit of the rock element into our arrangements. We’re never gonna sound just like a rock band because any time we play together we come out sounding like Lonestar but it’s always fun to push the boundary back a little bit.

Guitar Thrills: How far back does your library go with songs from Fleetwood Mac?

Michael Britt of Lonestar: I really started getting into them when Lindsay and Stevie joined the band. Those first two albums with them are two of my absolute favorites, so well produced, written, and performed. I’ve always loved how the production didn’t sound dated with a ton of reverb or other things and that just makes the recordings sound timeless and wonderful.

Guitar Thrills: Did you know them personally before working on the remake?

Michael Britt of Lonestar: I’ve never really met the band. I think I have a photo of the band with Mick Fleetwood in front of the Universal Hilton in L.A. from ’96 or so but I can’t really count that as meeting them. I’m just a huge fan of music and they are legendary to me.

Guitar Thrills: What kinds of legal barriers did you have to make this song “your own”? 

Michael Britt of Lonestar: I’m not sure of any legal barriers. I’m sure our manager did the research into any legal stuff, crossing t’s and dotting I’s but so many people do covers nowadays that I don’t recall it being much of a struggle.  

Guitar Thrills: Is this the first time that you have considered covering another artist? If not, please explain.

Michael Britt of Lonestar: We have recorded several covers over the years, from “Amie” by Pure Prairie League to “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn. And we always include an encore with rock covers, so we truly enjoy taking other peoples’ songs and making them sound a bit like Lonestar.  

Guitar Thrills: What do you think about other artists covering iconic songs? 

Michael Britt of Lonestar: I love it. There are so many ways to go and even if you try to copy it perfectly, your own personality and playing still changes it to some degree.  I have so much respect for great songs and players that I usually try to do the originals justice and not come from left field. But I still try to put myself into and try to make that show through as well. For instance, I’ve heard “make loving fun” so many times that the solos are just in my brain. I didn’t really sit down and study and learn any of them for this project. I just tried to come from that place of familiarity and play it as emotionally as I could. It’s not verbatim but it’s got a lot of the same language and (I hope) feel. Lindsay is such a unique player and there are iconic moments in the song I didn’t want to throw out.

Guitar Thrills: On a personal note, I know that Lonestar has had some changes throughout the years. How has the addition of Drew Womack helped Lonestar with a new outlook or method for creativity? 

Michael Britt of Lonestar: I think it’s just opened a new door to the future. The cool thing is that I’ve known Drew longer than I’ve been in Lonestar so there’s a familiarity we don’t have to fake or learn. But his path to here was still different and he draws from all his experiences with Sons of the Desert and his solo projects, so he brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and ability to the table that is all very new to us. But at the same time, we have very similar backgrounds and likes, and he sounds fantastic on our catalog of material. I feel like we are just starting to get past the “new” and start tapping into all the new creativity Drew brings to the table. This project is just the beginning.

Guitar Thrills: How has Lonestar been received with the new changes? 

Michael Britt of Lonestar: I’m so thankful that so far, it’s been very positive. Any time you change a major member in a band it will be different but as far as I can tell, it’s a perfect fit. There will always be people that don’t accept change, but we still treat our music with the respect it’s earned, and we aren’t trying to rewrite history. But I feel like we are sounding so good and tight, and everything is just clicking now.  

Guitar Thrills: What does Drew Womack bring to a country band with chart topping hits throughout decades of producing music? 

Michael Britt of Lonestar: Drew is a consummate professional as a singer. I’ve never heard him have a bad night. His pitch, timing, and timbre are so consistent that it makes singing our trademark harmonies so easy and tight. He’s also a true artist/songwriter. His brain is always in creative mode and he’s just a superhuman to have around. I think we are so fortunate to find him again when we did.  

Guitar Thrills: What can we expect from your new album? 

Michael Britt of Lonestar: The new EP is just the beginning of what I hope is the beginning of a new era of Lonestar. We just want to keep making new music to give our longtime fans something new to get excited about and hopefully grab some new fans along the way. We have been so fortunate to have had the success we’ve achieved so far but we always love adding new music in our show to keep it fresh for us and our fans.

Guitar Thrills: Are you planning to tour to support your new album? 

Michael Britt of Lonestar: We will absolutely be touring for it. We are already working on our new show to incorporate many of these new tracks.  

Guitar Thrills: Are you already focused on the next project, or is there time to sit back and enjoy the accolades from your new release?

Michael Britt of Lonestar: I think that our focus now is just working on our new live show and after that gets up and running we will continue to write and compile songs for whatever comes next, whether it’s another iconic/cover song record or some all-new material. We won’t stop pushing ourselves if history is any indication.  

Guitar Thrills: I want to thank you again for chatting with me. This is insightful into a topic that I am passionate about. I hope you will come back and join me for another interview related to Lonestar and their accomplishments. 

Michael Britt of Lonestar: Thank you so much for your time and I can’t wait to chat again some time!




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