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The members of Lonestar have no idea how many awards they have been given. At some point along the way each has lost count, which is an indication of how much Lonestar has achieved in seven years, or just what they have come to mean to American music and culture. The members of Lonestar say they feel fortunate and blessed to have received the many accolades, but they are more passionate about making music than they are about being recognized for it.

Here is the highly condensed version:

There is one triple platinum album ("Lonely Grill"), one double platinum ("I'm Already There"), and two golds ("Crazy Nights" and "Lonestar"). There are nine No. 1 singles ("Amazed," "I'm Already There," "What About Now," No News," "Tell Her," "Smile," "Everything's Changed," "Come Cryin' To Me," and "My Front Porch Looking In"), more than one per year. There are four awards from the Academy of Country Music, two from BMI, two Billboard Music Awards and five Grammy nominations. Further

testimony to the bond that Lonestar's music has created with its fans is the fact that users of America Online voted "Amazed" the No. 1 love song of all time. Perhaps that explains why their five albums have racked up more than 8 million in cumulative sales.

Many of the best songs on those albums are available in the new release "Greatest Hits--From There to Here." The album includes 13 previously released songs, including all eight No. 1 hits, and three new songs. One is a cover of "Walking in Memphis," which Lonestar long has performed only in concerts. A second new song, "I Pray," is a heartfelt ballad about enduring faith. The third, "My Front Porch Looking In," is in the tradition of "I'm Already There," as it showcases the group's family values.

One of the awards that has been in Lonestar's collection the longest is one of the most special to them. Lonestar was given the award for Top New Vocal Group by the Academy of Country Music in 1996. The industry's stamp of approval let the


band members know they were on the right path. And after years of watching the awards show from their living rooms, Richie McDonald, Dean Sams, Keech Rainwater and Michael Britt now were a part of it. That breakthrough was the culmination of five years of singing until their voices went hoarse and playing until their fingers blistered. Over a two-year stretch in 1993 and '94 Lonestar performed more than 500 shows, traveling across the country in a Jeep Cherokee, hauling a trailer. Since then Lonestar has succeeded on so many levels-commercial, critical, crossover, charitable and even personal.

Now the members of Lonestar say they get all the recognition they need every time they play before a live audience. When the applause rolls into a roar that makes their stage shiver, Lonestar knows then that they are winning.

Their unique ability to connect with American audiences has been the signature of Lonestar. "I'm Already There" has become a theme song for men and women in the military and their families. Victims of the 9/11 tragedy found comfort in the haunting "Not a Day Goes By." Anyone who ever has been led by his or her heart can be mesmerized by "Amazed."

"Amazed" marked Lonestar's transition from a "country" band to a group of musicians who appeal to music lovers of all genres. Lonestar still considers themselves a country band first and foremost, but they have become so much more. With a style that draws from multiple genres, Lonestar has become delightfully unpredictable while maintaining a distinctive sound. Some of their most indelible songs are ballads, but they have shown they can go uptempo with the best of them in works like "What About Now" and "With Me."

Writing their own music (they have co-authored songs such as "I'm Already There," "Runnin' Away With My Heart," and "My Front Porch Looking In") has been a highlight for the members of Lonestar. They appreciate nothing more than being able to make a connection from their hearts to fans' ears.

Last year Lonestar was presented the Fatherhood Award from the National Fatherhood Initiative, and earlier this year they were given the Artist Humanitarian Award from the Country Radio Broadcasters for their work with American Red Cross and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. No award could mean more to Lonestar than those two, even if they believe they are just doing the things they are supposed to do.

There's no sense counting up those awards just yet, anyway.