Their bus idled just steps from the backstage door of the Cameo Theater in Bristol, Va., On Saturday night. They are the Frontmen of Country. Composed of singers Larry Stewart, Tim Rushlow and Richie McDonald, all three were former vocalists for the respective bands Restless Heart, Little Texas and Lonestar.
At 8 a.m. sharp, the three appeared on stage to begin an almost two-hour love party with an enthusiastic and attentive audience. Stewart and Rushlow played acoustic guitar while McDonald worked on piano and guitar. The three exchanged main voices and accompanied each other in harmony. A group of three men with electric guitar, bass and drums supported them.
But for three songs, the songlist for the evening consisted of tracks from Restless Heart, Little Texas, and Lonestar. Stewart started with “Wheels”, a chart-topping song for Restless Heart in 1988. McDonald followed with Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis”, which Lonestar ranked in the top 10 in 2003. Rushlow responded with “Amy’s Back in “from Little Texas. Austin “from 1994.
Throughout, The Frontmen of Country wasn’t so much country as it was rock – and especially pop. It is very good. Each singer excelled at hitting vocal highs and engaging with lyrical undertones. Take the 2001 McDonald’s rendering of “I’m Already Here”. Lush and calm, his piercing voice echoed the pain with which he had written the song while touring years ago with Lonestar when his little boy was missing.