How the Military Formed This ‘90s Country Supergroup

Country trio The Frontmen is just what it sounds like—a group of lead singers from ’90s country groups who formed their own group.

The trio is Tim Rushlow, who sang for Little Texas; Larry Stewart, lead singer for Restless Heart; and Richie McDonald from Lonestar, the voice on their biggest hits.

The Frontmen exist because each man individually agreed to play shows together for the military. After seeing how the service men and women reacted to their combined show—and spending significant time together in cramped quarters and still liking each other—Rushlow, Stewart, and McDonald decided to make their band official.

They’re now signed to BBR Music Group and recently released their patriotic song “Left Their Mark” from their self-titled debut album.

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Larry Stewart: “(Military Tours) Bond You”

“We are grateful for a second shot at hitting the pinata,” Rushlow said, meaning that before The Frontmen, the singers thought their careers were in the sunset phase.

Without the military and the opportunity to sing for the troops, initially bringing them together, The Frontmen wouldn’t exist.

“It does bond you,” Stewart said of the military tours. “I don’t think that any one of us three thought that when we did those the first year, it would turn into an annual thing. Then it was, ‘Hey, guys, up for another one? Yeah, let’s go.'”

The men played for the troops on eight tours, including one that lasted over one month, and took them around the world. But some of their favorite memories came aboard an aircraft carrier in the Middle East.

 They entertained the thousands of troops on the ship. The Frontmen also used the carrier as base and an Osprey helicopter to fly to and from shows. The singers saw the sacrifices the soldiers make to do their jobs.

The band met a mother who hadn’t seen her newborn in four months.

“Where the mom was serving, her job was on a ship, so I think they could get her two or four weeks to get through that, and then she had to go back her ship and spend six months deployed,” Rushlow said.  “Her husband had to take care of the baby at home.”

“Think that our military men and women don’t sacrifice for their country?” Stewart said. “Are you kidding me?

Soldiers Lined up to Show the Band Pictures of Their Children

Rushlow continued: “You’ve got to figure, holidays and birthdays and Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July. I mean, it doesn’t matter what the holiday is. Their job doesn’t stop. We met many fathers who couldn’t wait to get home and meet their children. It’s a heavy one, but it’s true.”

Parents lined up to show The Frontmen pictures of their children. Many of them pulled patches from their clothes and gave them to the singers as souvenirs.

On a lighter note, Stewart quipped that he gets car sick when looking straight ahead and going 30 mph. But on this tour, he had to fly backward on and off the ship.

“We got to take off and land in an Osprey, which we did a serpentine takeoff so we wouldn’t get shot down,” Stewart said. “And I’m like going, ‘This is the worst thing I’ve ever done.'”

Service Men and Women Love ’90s Country

However, it was all worth it when Stewart, Rushlow and McDonald stood in front of thousands of soldiers in the hangar and heard them sing their hit songs back to them.

“It’s an ocean of 2,000 Navy guys and girls and 2000 Marines all in one huge hangar bay in the middle of an aircraft carrier, and they’re all singing ‘The Bluest Eyes In Texas,'” Rushlow said.  

“I’m thinking, ‘How do you even know that song?'” Stewart said. “Because they’re all young. Afterward, they’re all like, ‘Hey man, our parents raised us right. We love ’90s country.'”

(Photo by Rich Polk/Billboard via Getty Images)

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