CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A pair of big-name country music acts will headline West Virginia's 150th birthday celebration later this month, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced today. Multi-platinum quartet Lonestar and country music legend Ronnie Milsap will cap a weekend of sesquicentennial festivities with a June 22 concert on the State Capitol steps.
"This is a show I can't wait to see," said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. "Lonestar and Ronnie Milsap are superstar performers who've made some unforgettable music over the years---songs we all know by heart. Having them here at the Capitol will put a big exclamation point on our state's birthday party."
Lonestar-featuring lead vocalist Richie McDonald, guitarist Michael Britt, drummer Keech Rainwater, and keyboardist Dean Sams-has been thrilling music fans for more than 20 years, with three platinum-plus albums and 10 #1 country hits. The band's chart-topping songs include "Amazed," named 1999's Academy of Country Music Song of the Year, and 2003's "My Front Porch Looking In," which, like "Amazed," was Billboard's year-end country #1. Among Lonestar's other smash hits are "I'm Already There," "What About Now," "Smile," "Tell Her," and "No News."
West Virginia's birthday isn't the only thing Lonestar has to celebrate this month. Today, the band releases its latest album, "Life As We Know It"---Lonestar's first full-length album in over three years, and the first since the much-anticipated return of its original vocalist, Richie McDonald.
Ronnie Milsap is one of the most successful and beloved country artists of all time. A six-time Grammy winner, Milsap has recorded over 40 #1 hits during a career spanning four decades. Four of his albums have been named Country Music Association Album of the Year, and Milsap's career album sales exceed 35 million. Although best known as a country musician-and a near-certain future Country Music Hall of Famer-Milsap's remarkable career has transcended genres, covering styles from blues to R&B to pop to rock. Milsap is also a virtuoso live musician renowned as one of the most entertaining concert performers in the business.
Milsap will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. on June 22 and will be followed by Lonestar.
The birthday celebration's daytime music lineup kicks off at 11 a.m. on June 22 and features a superb list of West Virginia artists including soul sensation Lady D, of Beckley; Lewisburg reggae funk band Vern's Pot O'Chili; Americana folk singer Christian Lopez of Martinsburg with his trio Joe Taxi; and the Davisson Brothers Band, rising country stars from Clarksburg. These artists will perform on the Capitol steps during the daytime festivities, entertaining the thousands of West Virginians expected to attend the celebration.
The all-star musical slate is part of West Virginia's 150th birthday festivities, which begin at the state Capitol on Thursday, June 20, and conclude Sunday, June 23. The celebration will include the ever-popular Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-Off, a classic car cruise-in, the unveiling of the Postal Service's West Virginia statehood stamp, food and craft vendors, the Vandalia Gathering, and three showings of a 3-D video spectacular that chronicles West Virginia's history and will be projected directly onto the face of the State Capitol. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the observances will end with fireworks shows by the world-famous Zambellis---the first family of fireworks. To view the complete schedule, visit: www.wv150.com
Amy Shuler Goodwin