Lonestar Nabs New Singer, Plots Next Album

Lonestar is plotting a fall announcement, probably in November, of its new singer, as well as a fresh musical course for its next album.

Lonestar is plotting a fall announcement, probably in November, of its new singer, as well as a fresh musical course for its next album.

"We found one guy -- I can't tell you who it is now -- but we absolutely love his voice," drummer Keech Rainwater tells Billboard.com. He did, however deny heavy rumors that it's Josh Gracin, the former "American Idol" finalist who subbed for departing Lonestar frontman Richie McDonald at two shows earlier this year when McDonald was ailing.

Lonestar is in the midst of its final tour with McDonald, which wraps in November. But Rainwater says he and bandmates Michael Britt and Dean Sams have also been "trying to jam a little bit" with the new singer in order to "test his voice, see where he can go." The group and producer Justin Niebank have been listening to songs for the album and have been pleased that the country songwriting community is enthusiastic about the upcoming lineup change.

"It's a chance for us to kind of get a new sound and go in a little bit of a different direction," Rainwater explains. "I think we've been known for singing family songs -- not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's time to start a new chapter and maybe sing more about relationships, like we did on 'Lonely Grill' and (the chart-topping hit) 'Amazed.'

"We're trying to come out with things that young record buyers, people who go out and buy CDs, will listen to," he continues. "We don't feel like we have to have songs about kids and family and being sort of over the hill. We had a song called 'Class Reunion' that was about going back to your 20-year high school reunion. I don't think young kids can identify with that. So we want to find that new direction and new sound and rock out a little harder."

Rainwater adds that unlike previous Lonestar albums, which have been made intermittently over the course of a year, the group's next effort will be pre-produced and recorded in one fell swoop. "We're gonna wait until we have all the songs picked out and a theme put together in our minds," Rainwater says.

Lonestar plans to have the album, the follow-up to last year's "Mountains," out as early as possible in 2008. McDonald hasn't yet announced what he plans to do after leaving the band.