My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Spotlight Artist: Sawyer Brown

Those only intimately familiar with Sawyer Brown’s output in the 1990s, may be surprised to learn the origins of the group are traceable back to the mid-1980s when Mark Miller and the boys competed on and won Star Search.  With the $100,000 prize in their pockets and a recording contract with Capitol/Curb Records, they entered the studio to record a self-titled album released in 1984. The album peaked at #2 and their second single, “Step That Step” was their first #1 hit.

Sawyer Brown would hit the top ten just four more times in their first decade, where big hits included “That Missing You Heart of Mine” and an iconic cover of the George Jones classic “The Race Is On.” Their fortunes changed in 1991 when they dropped the slick sound that had become their trademark with “The Walk,” a stunning ballad about the cycles of life solely written by Miller. The song returned them to #2 for the first time in four years.

The band’s greatest period of consistency followed, with their next eight singles reaching the top 5. “Some Girls Do” and “Thank God For You” were the band’s second and third number one hits, respectively. This uptick in their commercial fortunes is related to the addition of Mac McAnally, who wrote some of the hits and co-produced a number of the albums reasonable for changing perceptions and allowing both fans and critics to take the band seriously.

McAnally’s contributions include “Cafe on the Corner,” a masterwork in blue-collar oppression. “All These Years” tackles infidelity, with a husband confronting his wife while she’s in bed with her lover. He and Miller co-produced four of the band’s albums, beginning with Outskirts of Town in 1993 and ending with 1999’s Drive Me Wild. Sawyer Brown’s final major hit was the title track to the latter project, which hit #6 in 1999. Two years prior they took a cover of Dave Dudley’s “Six Days On The Road” to #13 while their take on “This Night Won’t Last Forever,” a pop hit for Michael Johnson in 1979, hit #6.

While our spotlight of Sawyer Brown will conclude with their Six Days on the Road album, released in 1997, the band has been recording into the new millennium. Their aforementioned Drive Me Wild album was issued with Miller dancing courtesy of a hologram cover image in 1999. Just three more albums have followed in the years since all of which have yielded singles that either charted low or didn’t chart at all. The band’s most recent single, the failed “Walk Out of the Rain” was issued back in 2014.

As far as distinctions go Sawyer Brown was never able to walk away with the CMA Award for Vocal Group of the Year, despite seven consecutive nominations between 1992-1998. This feat has since been tied, by Zac Brown Band, who also has seven consecutive nominations (2010-2016) without a win. Like Sawyer Brown, Zac Brown Band has also won the CMA New Artist Award.

14 responses to “Spotlight Artist: Sawyer Brown

  1. Pul W Dennis April 3, 2017 at 8:36 am

    The band actually started out as country singer Don King’s road band. When King, a talented pop-country singer and songwriter, decided he had endured enough of the road, he disbanded his road band. The band decided to stick together and have a go at it

    • Luckyoldsun April 3, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Oddest bit of Sawyer Brown trivia is that keyboard player “Hobie” Hubbard’s big brother Glenn Hubbard is the former cairman of the Counsel of Economic Advisors (under George W. Bush) and is now the Dean of the Graduate School of Business at Columboa University. “Hobie” was the black sheep of that family.

      • Ken April 3, 2017 at 8:29 pm

        What a disrespectful comment! Considering that Hobie has more than a 30 year career as a member of a very successful country music act that had a long string of hits I fail to see how he could be considered a “black sheep” of his family. He has excelled for an extended period in an extremely difficult and competitive field. His brother was also highly successful in his chosen area of interest and expertise so their family has good reason to be very proud of both of them.

        Hobie: If you read this please know that this guy constantly posts oddball comments and does not reflect the views of most of the folks that post comments or visit this site. We continue to wish you and the other guys in the band all the best! Thanks for all the great music.

        • Luckyoldsun April 3, 2017 at 9:22 pm

          Kenny, you really need to get some sleep, take a bath, eat some pancakes, get a check-up, I don’t know.
          Only a severely twisted individual–or perhaps someone with an aneurysm–would read my comment above as anything other than an affectionate salute to Sawyer Brown and both Hubbard brothers.
          I’ve met Glenn Hubbard, by the way. He wouldn’t know me, but he knows someone in my family.

        • Ken April 4, 2017 at 9:11 am

          Sorry but your comment cannot be interpreted as indicative of any affection or respect. It continues your long term pattern of negative statements and oddball commentary about country performers. Only when you are called out for your perpetual nonsense do you then back-pedal and offer some odd justification that your comments are being misunderstood. Your comments clearly show what you meant and we take you at your word. An apology would be more appropriate than this lame justification.

          Your reply clearly shows that you have issues.

        • youngwomanscreek April 4, 2017 at 5:47 pm

          The back and forth between the two of you in the comments is getting old. Individuals are entitled to their opinions and comments, whether others agree or not. If it seriously crosses a line, the website can handle it, not other commenters. Policing of blog comments by other commenters…ugh. It practically makes me not want to view the comments anymore.

        • Ken April 5, 2017 at 8:51 am

          For all of the accurate information that the internet provides it also gives voice to those that spread misinformation. In some cases it’s because they are ignorant or sadly misinformed but sometimes it can be malicious. But whenever someone posts half-truths, lies or misinformation it should always be called out. Allowing false or malicious comments to be uncontested implies agreement. It also perpetuates lies and misinformation that can confuse others that are in search of the facts. Unfortunately for country music there is no site comparable to that verifies or negates the avalanche of political myths that flood the internet and often your in-box from forwarded emails. Even Wikipedia is rife with errors and inaccuracies although many still choose to use it as a primary source of information.So it falls to other commenters to keep things honest.

          Moderators may not wish to confront those that visit their site so they depend on other commenters to set the record straight. Not sure if that it the case here but that seems to be the policy for most sites that I frequent, Unless someone posts spam or uses unacceptable language or sexual references they allow the comments to stand. Usually better informed commenters do set the record straight.

          If you spend time exploring this site you will notice that almost all of the off-base comments come from just one individual. The majority of the visitors here are music lovers that enjoy discussing their favorite acts and offer appropriate and interesting comments that add to the discussion. Their comments usually embellish and compliment the excellent articles created by the writing team. However there is a big difference between expressing an opinion and stating something as factual. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but no one is entitled to create their own facts. Especially when they seem to have no inherent knowledge of the genre, artist or topic but constantly feel the need to post comments anyway.

          I do question the authenticity of your post as whenever this individual has been caught in another one of his lies he recruits someone to speak on his behalf to complain about it.

  2. Michael A. April 3, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Nice selection for this month. Sawyer Brown had a number of singles that I really liked including “All These Years”, “Hard to Say”, “Outskirts of Town”, “I Don’t Believe in Goodbye”, etc.

  3. countryopinionblog April 3, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    I don’t remember any details, but when I was a kid, I saw Sawyer Brown play at a local fair, maybe early 1980s. I think it was before they won Star Search and became much better known.

  4. Luckyoldsun April 5, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    You can see that you’re dealing with an obsessed individual from the response that you got. I didn’t respond to your comment because I thought it was reasonable (and you went out of your way to direct your criticism equally both individuals whom you were discussing). The “protector of country music” responded with his standard soliloquy/lecture–and then capped it off by passive-aggressively accusing you of having been “recruited” by me to “speak on [my] behalf.” Bizarre.

    • Ken April 5, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      My truthful reply was measured and reasonable. Your childish response and retaliatory name calling speaks volumes about your character.

      • youngwomanscreek April 5, 2017 at 10:40 pm

        And we are off and running again. For the record, I speak for myself and no one else, and have no idea who either of you two are. You resemble bickering relatives forced to coexist in a confined space.
        I have spent plenty of time on this site, over a period of years. I enjoy the posts greatly. The comments, unfortunately, are too dominated by the back and forth between the two of you.
        To add to a part of this and make sure this is clear while I’m bothering to post – I do greatly appreciate the time put into the posts. From new reviews to older videos or monthly spotlights, it is great content.

  5. james rhodes April 7, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I have seen Sawyer Brown approximately 12 times and shows were 100% great. My family and I have also been to the farm for breakfast as fans. I think it is rude and disgusting to make such comments about any band member. Grow up and move on or maybe even get a JOB!!

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