By Adam D. Young |  AVALANCHE-JOURNAL

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The threat of evening thunderstorms on the South Plain didn't stop more than 20,000 people from celebrating Independence Day in Lubbock during the daylong 4th on Broadway celebration.

Known as the largest free festival in Texas, Saturday's entertainment included a street fair, parade, early settlers' luncheon and a closing concert and fireworks show.

Closing Concert and Fireworks Extravaganza


Before the sky lit up with fireworks of almost every color, dozens of musicians serenaded an audience of more than 20,000 Saturday evening at Mackenzie Park.

Lubbock artists David Gaschen and Richie McDonald were headliners on the concert's 60-foot stage, performing songs such as "Music of the Night" and "Walkin' in Memphis," respectively.

Gaschen, who rose to fame with the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera, performed an amusing version of "Take Me Home Country Roads" with the lyrics rewritten for Lubbock.

Following Gaschen, Coronado High graduate McDonald came onstate. After opening with "God's Still In America," the former Lonestar lead singer performed eight more songs ... the final one, "Wrap Yourself In Me," a duet with Gaschen.

Celebrate our nation's independence with a parade, live music, food and most importantly fireworks at the 2009 4th on Broadway Festivals Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4.

The gates will open at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Select-A-Seat or at the gates. 

Start celebrating early on July 4 at the Wells Fargo Bank Street Fair on Broadway from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.  Save your spot for the McDougal Companies Parade at 9 a.m., which will run on Broadway from Ave. Q to University. 

Richie McDonald and David Gashen will light up the stage as fireworks light up the sky at the Plains Capital Bank Evening Concert and Gandy's Fireworks Extravaganza.  The event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Mackenzie Park.  Other featured performers include Kenny Maines, The Cactus Kids, The Lubbock Texas Rhythm Machine, The Lubbock Youth Symphony Orchestra and many more.

Convenient parking is available for $5 at the South Plains Fairgrounds, Canyon Lake Drive and Nutmeg Avenue.  Premier seating for the fireworks extravaganza is also available.  Tickets are $25 per person and include exclusive seating in front of the stage and parking across the street.  You can purchase tickets at Select-A-Seat or call for more information at (806) 749-2929.


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Touring and songwriting make up the majority of musician Richie McDonald's life. From town to town, McDonald must make time for the songwriting side of his career. The former front man for Country band Lonestar made a stop in Exeter as part of the KJUG free Summer Concert Series at City Park, McDonald unveiled the songwriting inspirations behind his biggest hits and his favorite works.

McDonald graced the stage at Exeter with an acoustic guitar, a piano, and a catalog of beloved music new, old and even one or two borrowed tunes.

"I really love the acoustic shows," McDonald said before the concert. "It's up close and personal and I get to tell the story behind the songs."  McDonald opened his outdoor summer show by comparing Exeter to his home town of Lubbock, Texas.

"It's[Exeter's] kind of like the middle of nowhere. It reminds me of where I'm from in Texas,"  McDonald said.

The show in Exeter was a change of pace for McDonald whose recent schedule had him playing at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville the prior week to a massive audience, then sent him to California where he played at Buck Owen's Crystal Palace in Bakersfield in the afternoon on the same day as his show in Exeter.

"I can do up to three shows a day. We plan ahead to be productive,"  McDonald said of his touring schedule that already has him booked through December of this year.

While constantly on the road, McDonald seems to always be writing. Delivering a sampling of songs from his upcoming record, it is clear what is unfailingly on McDonald's mind as he tours across the U.S.  His family.

" A few months ago, I was up in a Seattle hotel room and looked out my window at the Puget Sound," McDonald said. "It was beautiful. Ferries crossing. The sun setting. I sat down to write a song and felt kind of like an artist painting a picture. I wrote The Only Thing Missing is You.

The song will be featured on his upcoming album and McDonald gave the audience a listen at the Exeter show of The Only Thing Missing as well as his newest addition to the song list, Just Because You Can't See Jesus.

Exeter was only the second audience to hear McDonald's latest piece. He debuted the faith-based song earlier in the day in Bakersfield.

"It's one song that has a message. I'm eager to see the response. I use the crowd as a barometer," McDonald said. "It's a song I wrote with Ron Harbin from Bakersfield."

Harbin discovered the theme of the song after passing a road sign that read, "Just Because You Can't See Jesus Doesn't Mean He's Not Watching."

The song was a hit for the Exeter crowd perhaps proving the song was worth delaying the completion of McDonald's upcoming album.

"The album was supposed to be done, then I co-wrote Just Because You Can't See Jesus and wanted it on the album. I'm always writing," McDonald said.

McDonald admits that California has been the source of inspirations for past songs and is also the sight of some of his most loyal fans.

"I wrote I'm Already There on the West Coast. California has always been one of the biggest fan bases. Especially this area. There are real people here. People living everyday lives. The kind of people that listen to Country music," McDonald said.

McDonald spent his entire stop in Exeter getting to better know these people, these faithful fans. From his point of arrival at City Park, McDonald visited with fans before the show, giving out autographs. He followed with a meet and greet for the local sponsors and after the show stopped in at the local A&W where he gave an impromptu performance in front of the restaurant for a handful of fans from the concert. He posted his mini-performance on the homepage of his website at www.richiemcdonald.com.

With a quick introduction, McDonald started his show with a quick-paced rendition of Walking in Memphis. He followed with current single Six-Foot TeddyBear.  He then sang his personal favorite, I'm Already There, dedicating it to all of the local military families.

He also sang the Michael Martin Murphy song Tonight We Ride.  The crowd jumped to life singing along during Front Porch Looking In.

McDonald went on to give the back story to other fan favorites Growing Old  and Mr. Mom. He also performed new songs Just Add Water and The Only Thing Missing is You.

McDonald closed the show with Lonestar's breakout hit Amazed.  With a solo voice backed with the audience humming along, the performance was the perfect ending to the warm summer day. Perhaps Exeter's setting sunset, kind people and middle-of-no-where appeal will sneak its way into the back story of one of McDonald's upcoming albums.

Richie McDonald is a singer/songwriter who debuted on the country scene with his four-man Texas band Lonestar in 1995. McDonald left the band in 2007 to launch his solo career. He was the second performer on KJUG's Summer Concert Series.

After a recent show in Visalia, California, Richie ran into some of the listeners at the local A & W.   The fun loving group approached Richie letting them know they had enjoyed his performance, but admitted they were late arriving and had missed some of their favorite songs.  What happened next was a mini-impromptu "make-up" concert.  The group joined Richie in singing the hits they missed and  a few of their other favorites.  Check out the video on the home-page.

 

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Wild Adventures has added the 'Country Rat Pack'  to its concert line-up.

At 8 p.m., July 23, the Country Rat Pack performs. This show features three country stars: Tracy Bird, Tracy Lawrence, and former Lonestar member Richie McDonald. These stars will play acoustic versions of their country hits and tell stories from their lives.

While reserved seating is available for each show, festival seating for concerts is also included in the park's regular admission price, and Passports. More information: Call 219-7080; or visit wildadventures.com

Richie McDonald will be performing at the Colgate Country Showdown on July 30th at the Smith County Fair in Carthage, TN.  Click here to listen to the promo!  Click here to learn how to enter the Colgate Country Showdown. 

Brought to you by 104.1 The Ranch - Visit their website for ticket information!

 

Click here to watch Richie's interview for the Phoenix Children's Hospital Telethon!