Taking their name from the Nashville street where they once
rehearsed, Sawyer Brown made their national TV debut on the show Star
Search in 1984. After winning $100,000, the band landed a record deal
with Curb Records and charted its first single, "Leona," the same year.
Following up with pulsating party songs "Step That Step" and "Betty's Bein'
Bad," Sawyer Brown won the Country Music Association's Horizon Award in
Although the band continued to tour and churn out singles
through the late '80s, Sawyer Brown had only sporadic hits (1987's "This
Missin' You Heart of Mine" and 1989's "The Race Is On") until "The Walk" in
1991. The poignant song of a father-son relationship began a string of Top 5
hits that continued until 1995. During that time, the band's music changed
somewhat, drifting from high-energy fun tunes to more thought-provoking fare
like "The Dirt Road," "Café Down on the Corner" and "All These Years." In
1997, Sawyer Brown were named the Academy of Country Music's top vocal group
for the year 1996. The band also has taken home six consecutive TNN/Music
City News Awards top vocal band prizes.
Sawyer Brown were one of the first country acts to use music
videos to full advantage. From the start, their videos were built around
concepts, rather than on straight performances. The videos also involved
famous guest stars, among them the comedian Gallagher and wiseguy weatherman
Willard Scott. The videos showcased frontman Mark Miller's boundless stage
energy and demonstrated that the other members were having great fun playing
together. Some took on a serious tone. "The Walk" chronicled the relentless
march of aging. "Cafe on the Corner" focused on the agony of people
dispossessed and out of work. "All These Years" examined without
sentimentality a marriage crumbling into desperation and despair. With "The
Other Side," the band used a Civil War scenario to illustrate that blood is
thicker than politics. Four of Sawyer Brown's videos -- including the
rollicking "Some Girls Do" and "Six Days on the Road" -- have earned CMT
video of the year awards.
Remarkably stable in a notoriously unstable business, the
band has lost and added only one member in its more than 17 years of
recording and touring. Original members include lead vocalist Miller,
keyboardist Gregg (Hobie) Hubbard, drummer Joe Smyth and bassist Jim
Scholten. Guitarist Bobby Randall left the band in 1991 and was replaced by
Duncan Cameron, formerly of the Amazing Rhythm Aces.
Sawyer Brown have released 17 albums, among them two studio
greatest hits packages and a Christmas album. A third best of collection,
The Hits Live, was released in 2000 and included a remake of the 1980
Johnny Lee hit "Lookin' for Love."
The band signed to Lyric Street Records in 2003, but did not
release an album on that label. However, Miller has found success in the
Christian market by producing an album from the band Casting Crowns,
released on Miller's label. Guitarist Shayne Hill joined the band in 2004. A
new studio album, featuring the song "Mission Temple Fireworks Stand," is
expected in early 2005.
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|TNN/Music City News
|Vocal Band of the Year
|Academy of Country Music
|Top Vocal Group