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Sunday, May 26, 2019, 4:00 AM

with Jon Young
For more than 20 years, BlackHawk has shared a unique sense of harmony withtheir voices, their songs and their fans. Its a harmony that has sold over 7 millionalbums, scored some of the most distinctive country radio hits of the 90s, andstill 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 allwith a commitment that takes their music and the harmony to a whole newlevel.When we started, says BlackHawk co-founder & lead vocalist Henry Paul, ourindividual careers as writers and performers gave us somewhat of a morecreative sensibility. We were three guys whose goal was to approach countrywith smart songs and unique harmonies for people who may not automaticallylike country. Paul had previously co-founded Southern Rock legends TheOutlaws, as well as leading the popular 80s rockers The Henry Paul Band. VanStephenson had mainstream pop success as an 80s singer-songwriter-guitarist(Modern Day Delilah). And Dave Robbins had written hits for Eric Clapton andKenny Rogers while partnering with Stephenson to write a series of classic #1hits for Restless Heart, including The Bluest Eyes In Texas and Big Dreams InA Small Town.Even though the three of us had a love and appreciation for traditional countrymusic, says Dave, we knew we werent going to be that. Henry was comingfrom Southern Rock, Van & I were in Nashville, but were writing country songswith pop sensibilities. When it came to our vocals, we wanted the three of us tobe up front in the choruses like Crosby, Stills & Nash or The Eagles. What set usapart from the very beginning musically was being true to who we wereindividually.BlackHawks 1993 self-titled Arista debut album launched with the smash singleGoodbye Says It All, followed by the Top 5 hits "Every Once in a While", "I SureCan Smell the Rain", "Down in Flames" and "That's Just About Right". The albumsoon certified Double-Platinum, and the band received an ACM nomination asBest New Vocal Group Of The Year. BlackHawk followed up with the hit albumsStrong Enough, Love & Gravity and Skys The Limit, which collectively featuredsuch hits as Im Not Strong Enough To Say No, Like There Aint NoYesterday, Big Guitar, Almost A Memory Now, There You Have It andPostmarked Birmingham. It was an unprecedented run of hits for a band thatnever quite fit the standard country mold. Getting a BlackHawk record on theradio was often a tough sell, explains Henry, for the same reason country radiorejected bands like The Mavericks, The Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss. But wewere committed to smart, strong songs whether they fit the format or not. And thefans responded.But at the height of the trios success in 1999, Van Stephenson was diagnosedwith an aggressive form of melanoma. Vans contribution to the group wasenormous, 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 wouldhave been an easy time for country music to count us out.Two days before Van passed away, Henry and I went to visit him, Daveremembers. Van was in a wheelchair at this point, and we took him for a strollaround his neighborhood. We spent the morning just talking, reminiscing aboutour career and good times together. Towards the end of our visit, Van said Ivegot two things to ask of you guys. First, do what you can to help raise awarenessand find a cure for this thing. The other is, dont quit. Theres still a lot of greatmusic left in BlackHawk. Since Vans death on April 8th, 2001, the band and itsfans have raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for The Van StephensonMemorial Cancer Fund at Nashvilles Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.Henry and Dave regrouped and soon returned to the album charts with theirGreatest Hits dedicated to Van and featuring his final track Ships Of Heaven as well as 2002s Spirit Dancer and 2011s Down From The Mountain, alongwith a touring

Cost: $20.00
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2281 N US Hwy 377
Stephenville, TX 76401

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