Sawyer Brown to step it up in TiffinWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Long before “American Idol” and “The Voice,” there was “Star Search.” Sawyer Brown won for vocal group when the program debuted in 1983.
“When that show came out, which is 30 years ago now, there wasn’t anything like that on the air,” Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard recalled. “We only did the audition to get the videotape to pitch to get work.
“We in no way thought they were going to pick a band from Nashville, so we put no pressure on ourselves. And then when we got picked and then were out in L.A. a week later, we literally just focused on — there were about 110 people in the audience at the taping, and we focused on them like it was a live show, kind of oblivious to what television was going to be like, what that meant to be thrown into several million living rooms.
“So once the show was done, it was suddenly like a whirlwind that people knew who we were, knew a little bit about the music,” the keyboardist said.
The band swept up fans with a slew of hits: “Step That Step,” “Used to Blue,” “This Missin’ You Heart of Mine,” “The Race Is On,” “The Dirt Road,” “Some Girls Do,” “All These Years,” “Thank God For You,” “This Time,” “Treat Her Right,” “Drive Me Wild.”
Talk about an amazing batting average: Out of 53 singles, Sawyer Brown hit Billboard’s Hot Country Songs 51 times.
“The thought for us was the same: We’re going to make the best music we can for us at any given moment, and the chips will fall as they will,” Hubbard said. “We were pretty hardheaded in our belief, and we knew what worked for us because we were always on the road. We saw what people were responding to, so we just tried to make the music that stayed true to us.”
In 2011, the group released “Travelin’ Band.” That title track is a history of the group: “They were searchin’ for stars when we came along/ It was rock ‘n’ roll in a country song/ There were five us thinking that we can/ This is the life and times of a travelin’ band.”
“I can’t be objective on that song,” Hubbard said and laughed during a call from Nashville. “It’s one of my favorite things that Mark [Miller, lead singer] has ever written because it really is us in about four minutes.
“I think it gives you a glimpse into what that ride has been like, and then also it’s a great opportunity for us to say thank you to the people who made this ride possible, which is everybody who has listened to the music.”
Fans can catch Sawyer Brown — Hubbard, Miller, drummer Joe Smyth, guitarist Shayne Hill and bassist Jim Scholten — at 7:30 p.m. March 7 at the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin. Tickets range from $30 to $60.
“I love to go see live music myself. You get that real sense of a connection between whoever’s on stage and whoever’s in the audience,” Hubbard said.
“With all the great things that technology has done in this world, nothing can replicate what it’s like to see something live whether it’s theater or music. There’s something about that; you can’t digitize that.”