In 1993, Dean Sams hooked up with four other native Texans -- John Rich, Keech Rainwater, Michael Britt and Richie McDonald -- to form Lonestar. Rich, now of Big & Rich, left the group in 1998, but more than two decades later, the group's original lineup remains otherwise intact ... including McDonald, who briefly departed from the group between 2007 and 2011 for a solo career.

It was McDonald who co-wrote three of Lonestar's biggest hits: "I'm Already There," "My Front Porch Looking In" and "Mr. Mom," all of which hit No. 1 on the charts. Below, the artist recalls to The Boot what happened the first time Lonestar heard themselves on the radio, in 1995.

The very first time we heard our first record on the radio, we were driving down Las Vegas Boulevard in a minivan. "Tequila Talkin''' just came out; we were out there doing some radio promotional work.

Right down the middle of Las Vegas, "Tequila Talkin'" comes on the radio. And it was kind of cool because we were all together at the time. Just to finally hear the results of all your hard work finally paying off was pretty exciting.

We were just kind of joking that we were riding down Las Vegas Boulevard in a little minivan going to a radio station. We heard it and shouted, "We've hit the big time! We're in a minivan, and our song is on the radio! We've made it!" I think we high-fived each other; we were all pretty excited!

I had a smile on my face because after all the hard work and all the years of playing clubs and anywhere we could play to be heard and then knocking on doors and finally getting a record deal -- finally seeing the fruits of our labor paying off. We put the band together in 1993, and we traveled and toured for about two years before we got our record deal, went in the studio, recorded it in about six months, and nine months later it was on the radio. I'll never forget it.

This story was originally written by Pat Gallagher, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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