After almost 40 years, Sawyer Brown still going strong - Albuquerque Journal

After almost 40 years, Sawyer Brown still going strong

Sawyer Brown is gearing up to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2024. The band will perform in Santa Fe on Friday, Feb. 17. (Courtesy of O-Seven Management)

The sun is out. It’s 82 degrees in Key West, Florida, and Mark Miller is enjoying his morning before his next show that night.

It’s days like these that keep the Sawyer Brown member happy.

“After 40 years, I’m still able to see the country and enjoy myself,” he says.

Sawyer Brown burst onto the music scene in the early 1980s. The band’s profile began to rise more when it was named the winner of the talent competition “Star Search.” In 1984, the band was signed to a major label deal.

Rounding out the band with Miller is Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard, Joe “Curly” Smyth and Shayne Hill. The band will make a stop at Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino on Friday, Feb. 17.

Miller says to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary next year there are several projects in play – one of them is a double album that Blake Shelton is producing.

“Blake is a big fan and he’s been working with us on getting it right,” Miller says. “It’s like we woke up and it’s 40 years later. We were all young too. We were all barely out of college. I was 24 and winning ‘Star Search’ really did just knock down the door for us.”

Since it’s inception, Sawyer Brown has released 18 studio albums and had three No. 1 singles – “Step That Step,” “Some Girls Do” and “Thank God for You.” They’ve had more than 50 songs chart on the Billboard Hot Country Songs.

Miller says the key to the band’s longevity has been its reinventions and a couple Hail Marys.

“There have been times that the industry didn’t know what to do with us,” he says. “We were too rock for country and too country for rock. ‘Star Search’ put us on the national stage as one genre and everyone loved it. Nashville reluctantly said, ‘We’ll take you back,’ especially in the early years.”

Sawyer Brown continued to create its own lane within music, and Miller and crew never backed down from a challenge.

When the pandemic hit in 2020 and touring was paused, Miller says he went down the rabbit hole of listening to the band’s music. This led him to the 1999 album, “Drive Me Wild.” On that album is the song, “We’re Everything to Me,” which he had forgotten about.

“I called Hobie and asked him if we wrote it,” he says with a laugh. “Hobie told me we did. I listened to that song a few years ago and wondered why it wasn’t released as a single. I think people get the message of the song more now.”

With a catalog that has hundreds of songs, Miller says audiences won’t ever be disappointed when seeing Sawyer Brown perform.

“If you’re a Sawyer Brown fan, you’ll hear many songs that you know during the set,” he says. “We punch you right in the mouth with the songs, ‘The Boys and Me’ and ‘Some Girls Do.’ After that it’s hit after hit. We also have put four or five songs in a medley so that the songs aren’t left out. We give it our all each night on stage. That’s what we want the audience to feel.”

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