Richie McDonald Has His Eye on the ‘Moon’
Richie McDonald has no boundaries when it comes to setting goals. Now he's sharing that philosophy with the world with his new single, 'Footprints on the Moon,' from his just-released album 'Slow Down.'
"I really owe the title to my wife, Lorie," Richie admits to The Boot. "She reads a lot and she's good at picking out lines. We were talking one night after the kids had gone to bed and she told me, 'I think I have a line for a song from a book I'm reading. What do you think about 'footprints on the moon?'
"As I ran toward the studio, I told her I thought it was a pretty good idea," Richie adds, laughing. "I wrote the song as if I were writing to my kids (Rett, Mollie and Macey), encouraging them to do whatever they want to do. I think people who hear it will apply it to their own situation because they are not much different from us."
The tune sends a message that the sky is no longer the limit, as long as there are footprints on the moon, a bit of encouragement that can apply to another group of kids who are dear to Richie -- the children of St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis.
"Those kids are climbing even bigger mountains," he quickly points out. The singer has been involved with St. Jude since his time as lead singer of Lonestar, when the group first moved to Nashville. "This is something that is close to my heart. My children are all healthy but I know if we did need the help of the staff at St. Jude, they would be there."
Richie fondly remembers a 15-year old girl he met at St. Jude who lived the philosophy of his song. "She was determined that she was going to beat the cancer," he recalls. "She was a fan of Lonestar but she could not leave her room, so I took my guitar and played a private concert for her. She gave me some candles that she made, which I still have, and she told me when she beat the cancer she was going to help other kids. Unfortunately she didn't make it, but she was a tremendous impact on me."
Richie says that when he moved to Nashville he considered himself a pretty good writer. Then he started co-writing with some of Nashville's finest tunesmiths and changed his mind. "I'm honored to be a songwriter," says the Texas native who in addition to songs cut by Lonestar, has had his compositions recorded by Sara Evans, Clay Walker, John Michael Montgomery, Billy Dean and the Wilkinsons.
"When I lived in Dallas I was riding around in my Coca-Cola truck, writing songs on Taco Bell napkins. Once I was here, I learned that I had a lot of work to do to come up to the caliber of the writers with whom I had the privilege to work."
Richie says that being able to express opinions and feelings in the lyrics of his songs that make a difference is the ultimate honor for a songwriter. He says there are many examples of people telling him what one of his songs meant to them, but the first one that comes to mind involves the 2001 pop-country smash, 'I'm Already There' and chocolate chip cookies.
"A girl came up to me at a meet-and-greet one night before a show and she gave me a letter and some chocolate chip cookies. She told me that she and her mom were Lonestar fans and that 'I'm Already There' was their favorite song. They would bake chocolate chip cookies together and listen to Lonestar.
"Then she told me her mother had passed away recently, and she started crying and I started crying. When you touch someone like that, it's so meaningful for you. I still see that lady at concerts, and she still brings me chocolate chip cookies."
Richie also takes his own advice in matters other than the words to 'Footprints on the Moon.' The title of the CD is 'Slow Down,' and he and Lorie and the kids take time to do that together.
"Lorie and I never had a honeymoon, and now that we have the kids they go with us everywhere," he explains. "We love going to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in East Tennessee. Our favorite thing to do there is eat at the Old Mill Restaurant. The first thing we do after we get checked into the hotel is head for that restaurant."
Look for Richie to participate in several activities during CMA Music Festival in June, including an event at the Country Music Hall of Fame and an autograph-signing at the Grand Ole Opry booth at the convention center.