For more than 20 years, BlackHawk has shared a unique sense of harmony with their voices, their songs and their fans. It’s a harmony that has sold over 7 million albums, scored some of the most distinctive country radio hits of the ‘90s, and still draws tens of thousands of fans to their electrifying live performances. Today BlackHawk continues to honor its past as it forges its future, and does it all with a commitment that takes their music – and the harmony – to a whole new level.
“When we started,” says BlackHawk co-founder & lead vocalist Henry Paul, “our individual careers as writers and performers gave us somewhat of a more creative sensibility. We were three guys whose goal was to approach country with smart songs and unique harmonies for people who may not automatically like country.” Paul had previously co-founded Southern Rock legends The Outlaws, as well as leading the popular ‘80s rockers The Henry Paul Band. Van Stephenson had mainstream pop success as an ‘80s singer-songwriter-guitarist (“Modern Day Delilah”). And Dave Robbins had written hits for Eric Clapton and Kenny Rogers while partnering with Stephenson to write a series of classic #1 hits for Restless Heart, including “The Bluest Eyes In Texas” and “Big Dreams In A Small Town”.
“Even though the three of us had a love and appreciation for traditional country music,” says Dave, “we knew we weren’t going to be that. Henry was coming from Southern Rock, Van & I were in Nashville, but were writing country songs with pop sensibilities. When it came to our vocals, we wanted the three of us to be up front in the choruses like Crosby, Stills & Nash or The Eagles. What set us apart from the very beginning musically was being true to who we were individually.”
BlackHawk’s 1993 self-titled Arista debut album launched with the smash single “Goodbye Says It All”, followed by the Top 5 hits “Every Once in a While”, “I Sure Can Smell the Rain”, “Down in Flames” and “That’s Just About Right”. The album soon certified Double-Platinum, and the band received an ACM nomination as Best New Vocal Group Of The Year. BlackHawk followed up with the hit albums Strong Enough, Love & Gravity and Sky’s The Limit, which collectively featured such hits as “I’m Not Strong Enough To Say No”, “Like There Ain’t No Yesterday”, “Big Guitar”, “Almost A Memory Now”, “There You Have It” and “Postmarked Birmingham”. It was an unprecedented run of hits for a band that never quite fit the standard country mold. “Getting a BlackHawk record on the radio was often a tough sell,” explains Henry, “for the same reason country radio rejected bands like The Mavericks, The Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss. But we were committed to smart, strong songs whether they fit the format or not. And the fans responded.”
But at the height of the trio’s success in 1999, Van Stephenson was diagnosed with an aggressive form of melanoma. “Van’s contribution to the group was enormous,” Henry says. “He could be a tremendously gifted songwriter and a deeply spiritual guy. We found ourselves at a crossroads as a band, and it would have been an easy time for country music to count us out.”
“Two days before Van passed away, Henry and I went to visit him,” Dave remembers. “Van was in a wheelchair at this point, and we took him for a stroll around his neighborhood. We spent the morning just talking, reminiscing about our career and good times together. Towards the end of our visit, Van said ‘I’ve got two things to ask of you guys. First, do what you can to help raise awareness and find a cure for this thing. The other is, don’t quit. There’s still a lot of great music left in BlackHawk.’” Since Van’s death on April 8th, 2001, the band and its fans have raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for The Van Stephenson Memorial Cancer Fund at Nashville’s Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
Henry and Dave regrouped and soon returned to the album charts with their Greatest Hits – dedicated to Van and featuring his final track “Ships Of Heaven” – as well as 2002’s Spirit Dancer and 2011’s Down From The Mountain, along with a touring schedule that brought the music to fans like never before. “Our audiences today are often full of 18 to 30 years olds,” says Dave. “They listened to us as kids, and still have a love for the music we made. That’s a big part of what propels us to keep creating as writers and performers.”
For the fans, for the music and for the brotherhood of Henry and Dave, harmony remains a powerful force. BlackHawk continues to record new music – including their well-received 2015 Brothers Of The Southland album, a forthcoming Christmas record and an acoustic greatest hits album – and deliver stellar live shows, backed by an all-star band of veteran country and southern rock players. “BlackHawk has a 20-year history of a certain kind of song craft as well as a quality of performance,” Henry says with pride. “People have always come to our shows expecting a concert that is emotionally and musically engaging, and the band still sounds even better than the records, night after night, show after show. When we take the stage, we work as hard as we ever have. We owe it the music, we owe it to ourselves, and Van, and we owe it to the fans. Now more than ever, that’s the true legacy of BlackHawk.”
When country music lovers talk about the greatest groups in the genre, Shenandoah is always at the forefront of any discussion. Fueled by Marty Raybon’s distinctive vocals and the band’s skilled musicianship, Shenandoah became well known for delivering such hits as “Two Dozen Roses,” “Church on Cumberland Road” and “Next to You, Next to Me” as well as such achingly beautiful classics as “I Want to be Loved Like That” and the Grammy winning “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” duet with Alison Krauss. Shenandoah has recorded ten studio albums (3 certified gold) and placed 26 singles on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. The boys from Muscle Shoals have left a potent legacy at country radio with over a dozen #1 records.
Shenandoah made their first public appearance 30 years ago. They are celebrating this milestone with the nationwide “Shenandoah 30th Anniversary Tour.” The group recently signed a record deal with BMG to release their first new album in two decades. Shenandoah premiered their debut single off the album, “Noise,” on SiriusXM and marked their first release to radio in 20 years. The track is produced by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts and hit the top 30 on the country charts. Their new album, “Reloaded,” was recently released and was the highest debuting album on the Billboard Chart of their entire career. The album debuted in the Top 15 on the iTunes Charts. Last month Shenandoah premiered a brand new music video on CMT for their current single,” That’s Where I Grew Up,” featuring fellow country star, Michael Ray.
FireHouse has been rockin’ for over a 25 years! Their music has taken them all over the world and has produced Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum records in the United States and countries abroad.FireHouse has been rockin’ for over a decade. Their music has taken them all over the world and has produced Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum records in the United States and countries abroad.
In 1990, their first album, entitled FireHouse, was released. The band’s first single, Shake & Tumble, had impressive radio success. The band then released Don’t Treat Me Bad, which became their first Top Ten hit. This was followed by Love of a Lifetime, which also entered the Top Ten, reaching the #3 spot on the United States charts. This string of hits vaulted their first album to double platinum status in the United States; also going gold in Canada, Japan and Singapore. At the 1991 American Music Awards, Firehouse found themselves standing before the nation accepting the award for Best New Hard Rock/Metal Band, chosen over Nirvana and Alice in Chains.
The band’s second album, Hold Your Fire, was released in 1992. It produced the hits Reach for the Sky and Sleeping with You. Another Top Ten hit, When I Look into Your Eyes, peaked on the United States charts at #5. This album earned the band two more gold albums and over 1 million sales worldwide.
In 1995, Firehouse released their third album on Epic, simply titled 3. Once again, Firehouse produced another Top Forty hit in the United States with I Live My Life For You. It was with this album that Firehouse made their first trip to Southeast Asia for a promotional tour. Earlier American hits like Don’t Treat Me Bad, Love of a Lifetime and When I Look into Your Eyes had climbed the charts in Asia. Here for You, the second single from 3, had also become a hit. The band then continued their promotional tour in South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina.
Their fourth album, Good Acoustics, was released in 1996 and quickly went gold in Malaysia, Thailand, and Philippines. Good Acoustics contains unplugged versions of the group’s greatest hits, as well as four new songs. This album produced foreign hits such as In Your Perfect World, Love Don’t Care and You Are My Religion. The band returned to Southeast Asia for another promotional tour at the end of 1996. Then, in February 1997, Firehouse embarked on their first concert tour of Southeast Asia playing sold out shows for fans in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Japan. During May and June they toured the United States before returning to Southeast Asia in July for an unprecedented Twenty-five city sold out tour of Indonesia.
In 1998, Firehouse toured the United States on the Rock Never Stops tour, which also included Slaughter, Warrant, Quiet Riot, and LA Guns. October of 1998 featured the Asian release of Firehouse’s fifth CD, Category 5 on Pony Canyon Records. The album quickly climbed to #4 on the Japanese charts, and supporting promotional tour of Japan followed. Category 5 was officially released in the United States in 1999.
Firehouse continued touring through the winter and spring of 1999, including 3 more sold out shows in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. On April 22, 1999, the band recorded their live show in Osaka. The result – the first ever live album by Firehouse. Bring ‘em Out Live was released in Japan in December 1999 and in the United States on Spitfire Records in July 2000.
The turn of the century brought the release their seventh album, titled O2. It has been released in SE Asia on Pony Canyon Records, and in the US on Spitfire Records. This album had notable success despite the changing style of popular rock music. During this time, the band decided to part ways with original bass player, Perry Richardson. O2’s remarkable bass playing was supplied by Bruce Waibel. Bruce brought to the band his phenomenal bass playing along with is equally impressive sense of humor. We truly regret to say that in September 2003, Bruce has passed away. He will be greatly missed as a friend and talented musician.
FireHouse headed back into the studio in early 2003 to write and record their 8th album, PRIME TIME. As music changes over time, FireHouse continues to evolve their musical style; yet, at the same time, hang onto their hard rock roots. Released in October of 2003, album number 8 is no exception. You can expect to hear what FireHouse is famous for … soulful, melodic hard rock.
Trying to get all of Logan Mize’s backstory straight is a little bit like herding cats. But it makes for some great songwriting material.
It involves stories about him living in his Suburban, Justin Timberlake being a fan, his great uncle discovering Buck Owens back in Bakersfield, selling out 2,000-seat venues with no record label behind him, driving a dump truck, wooing his now wife with sushi and a bucket of chicken wings, filming a commercial with Hayden Panettiere, getting a smile and a nod from Merle Haggard during a performance and being named the tourism ambassador by the Governor of the state of Kansas.
All true stories. And there are more where those came from.
There was that show he booked before any of his records came out. He and his band sold out a 600-person capacity club. “We tried out all the songs,” Mize remembers. “They sold out of beer three times that night and they didn’t pay us much of anything because I didn’t even know you had contracts for that sort of thing. That was my crash course in touring and playing clubs. All my old friends, teachers, all the people who laughed at me for going to Nashville — all of a sudden, we held their attention. For three hours. That night I was like ‘this might actually work.’”
But before any of the musical momentum, a young Mize would sing Elton John songs on a karaoke machine in his bedroom, but refused to sing in front of anyone. But after a Kenny Chesney concert in Wichita, the course of this 16-year-old kid’s life was forever changed.
“I have gone through waves of what I want to happen with my career,” Mize says. “Sometimes I forget about the 16-year-old kid who wanted to be Kenny Chesney. But ultimately at the end of the day I am still that kid sitting in the nose-bleed section seeing all the semis parked out front of the arena. I wish I could say I’m just happy to be in the game, but that’s not true. If we aren’t going to shoot for the biggest outcome possible, why do anything?”
That’s precisely why Logan Mize hasn’t let any of the pitfalls that have been sprinkled throughout his musical journey slow him down. And why his new record, Come Back Road, is his best one to date. He has endured bands breaking up. Drummers moving away. Recording projects with big names going unfinished. He’s been homeless, he’s been turned down multiple times up and down Music Row, and he’s come out on top with a project chock full of great songs that is already generating more great stories to add to the story that is his life.
“This record has modern feels to it, but sounds a bit more Midwestern,” he said. “There are a lot of ethereal sounds that represent that open prairie to me. It’s more of a heartland record than a southern record. It’s a record I am super proud of.”
And if the success of the record’s first single, It Ain’t Always Pretty is any indication, this album is poised to be his biggest one yet. After being played on the nationally syndicated morning radio show, The Bobby Bones Show, the song catapulted to #2 on the iTunes chart and has been streamed more than 20 million times on Spotify.
Show host Bobby Bones told his massive audience after playing the song, “That’s a jam, dude! I get chill bumps from that song. That is a Hit. I’ve never even met the guy. I just think it’s the jam. I have handed every record label a hit! If you don’t sign this guy and put him on the radio – I quit!”
Suddenly, all those years of sleeping on people’s floors and driving 6-hour round trips to Nashville to maybe get a chance to play at The Bluebird, seem to begin paying off.
“I knew a fiddle player who had moved to Nashville and he told me if I ever came to town I could stay with him,” Mize remembers. “One day I loaded up my truck and had just enough gas to get to Nashville and $60 left over. I got into town about 3 a.m. and drove to his apartment. His light was on so I pounded on the glass and he let me in. I slept on the floor in his laundry room for a while.”
Before music would pay the bills, Mize worked in excavating, drove a dump truck, mowed grass, drove a party bus, worked security at Coyote Ugly, delivered furniture and weed whacked ditches.
But then one day he started a band that couldn’t keep a rehearsal space because there was no money to pay the rent. Not long after that was the house party at the rental he was living in where someone burned down the barn while he was on a beer run. But during this time, he met a girl named Jill Martin, who would become his wife, he got a publishing deal with Big Yellow Dog, started selling out venues, and in 2016 embarked on a social media-guided acoustic concert trek across the country in his 1989 station wagon he coined “Glenn.” A road trip he says will go down as quite possibly the most fun he’s had in his music career.
“As a 32-year-old with a wife and two kids, the typical thing would be for me to go get a job, but I just want to do my job from a sold-out stadium stage. What I really want to do is entertain people. Make them smile and enjoy themselves.”
Kansas Musician who loves playing country music with a mix of classic rock! Loves playing live shows, recording, and networking with artists!
Growing up in Kansas, Jake Gill has fond memories of spending time with his grandfather on the family farm. Listening to music was a huge part of that upbringing – particularly on 1070 AM, the legendary frequency of radio powerhouse KFDI.
Though Gill admits there is no place he would rather be today, his road to a musical career began relatively later than most. He focused on studies in college, obtaining his degree, and establishing his own chiropractic office in Hutchinson, Kansas. Jake had done some performing around the area – namely at local Churches – but it wasn’t until his early 30s that he considered giving music his all as a career.
As a performer, Gill qualifies as a “road warrior,” with a full slate of dates on his schedule. He has also worked the stage with such musical heavyweights as Jake Owen, Easton Corbin, Chris Cagle and Jason Aldean.