It's official - Lonestar want to be Brooks & Dunn.
Sue Keogh 2004
It's official - Lonestar want to be Brooks & Dunn. The mild-mannered Texan foursome have hidden this ambition quite successfully by pressing the ballad button too hard since their 2000 smash ''I'm Amazed'', but now with their first studio release for three years they're playing at being rock stars again. With its strident fiddle and guitar riffs courtesy of Dann Huf (sic), ''Sweet Home Alabama'' beat and affectionate nod to the blue collar living ('Big time, big top, big crowds, big hair'), opening track ''County Fair'' imitates the formula quite adequately. Later, ''Summertime'' brings on board Rivers Rutherford the man behind big songs like Faith Hill's ''When The Lights Go Down'' and Brooks & Dunn's ''Ain't Nothin' 'Bout You'' and it shows in this lascivious, upbeat piece.
Elsewhere however, they give themselves away as trying a little too hard to rock out; in ''TGIF'' they promise to '...stay until there's not a pina colada left'. Gosh - there's no stopping these boys when they've got a bellyful of fruit-based cocktails.
A couple of years ago, ''I'm Already There'' became an anthem for all fathers who were away from their families, something which was particularly poignant when so many US soldiers suddenly found themselves on the other side of the world post 9/11. ''Somebody's Someone'' which the band dedicate to the fallen heroes - picks up the theme, addressing the pain shared by so many Americans when they saw images on their tv screens of another somebody's someone, a neighbour, a friend lost to the war on Iraq.
That family life is actually the topic closest to their hearts is underlined (three times, in red ink) by ''Let Them Be Little'', a piano-led, heartfelt song about watching one's children grow up. Its not the only song destined to appeal to Lonestar's female fanbase. From the ''I Like It, I Love It''-styled ''Women Rule The World'' to ''Mr. Mom'', a chirpy little tale of a house husband who soon realises that running a home is harder than he gave his wife credit for, the idea that women are flawless, innocent beings who whisper a lot is always woven into Lonestar's music. If they really wanted to give themselves an edge they should put out something bitchy like Toby Keith's ''How Do You Like Me Now''. Go on, live dangerously for once!