The moniker might not ring any bells, but country music fans will recognize the men behind it.
Larry Stewart, Tim Rushlow and Richie McDonald are The Frontmen. They’re the lead singers of Restless Heart, Little Texas and Lonestar, respectively, three of the biggest band names from the ‘90s country scene. They’ll play an acoustic show with violinist Donnie Reis on Thursday and Friday at the new Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers in north Colorado Springs.
“We were in our own little fish tank in our career, not aware,” Rushlow said from his home in Nashville. “It took years later to look back and see our three bands were similar. We were sort of the quintessential trio of groups. We sold over 30 million records and had over 30 No. 1 hits.”
Rushlow and Little Texas owned country in the early- to mid-’90s, with hits including “Some Guys Have All The Love,” “God Blessed Texas,” “What Might Have Been,” “Amy’s Back In Austin” and “First Time For Everything.” The group disbanded in 1997 but reunited in 2004, minus Rushlow, who built a solo career.
McDonald and Stewart still front their bands. Lonestar got its start in 1992 and has released almost two dozen hit singles, including “Amazed,” “I’m Already There,” “Smile” and “Mr. Mom.” Restless Heart has seen more than two dozen of their singles place on the charts, including six consecutive No. 1 hits. Listeners might remember “The Bluest Eyes In Texas,” “I’ll Still Be Loving You,” “Why Does It Have To Be (Wrong Or Right)” and “That Rock Won’t Roll.”
The Frontmen’s show is a night of hit songs, sung separately and together.
“We get to tell the stories behind the songs,” said Rushlow. “We share cool things that have happened to us. We’ve done these shows going on a decade together.”
Though Rushlow made a big career out of country music, it’s jazz and the Great American Songbook standards that really fuel his fire. But because there were no Harry Connick Jrs. or Michael Bubles while he was growing up, he didn’t think it would ever be possible. So he moved to Nashville, formed Little Texas, sold records, won awards and was content, until he wasn’t. Once the band amicably broke up, he was free to pursue his original passion.
“Going forward, I wanted to do something that was in my heart,” he said.
He released a big-band Christmas album, did a show and caught the eye of PBS, which wanted to use it for a pledge fund drive special. When the son of famous jazz singer Bobby Darin called to tell him Rushlow reminded him of his father, giving him the dead singer’s stamp of approval, everything changed. He’ll do big band and Christmas tours this year, with a possible date at Boot Barn Hall.
“I’m a music nut, a historian,” said Rushlow. “To know the majority of this song catalog was written by a lot of amazing Jewish authors during World War II, who somehow knew our world needed hope and joy and wrote songs to evoke that. These songs have magic fairy dust sprinkled all over them. A 14-piece horn section playing blows people over. It’s an emotional journey.”
JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM