Long before “American Idol” had crowned One Idol and long before “The Voice” had a voice there was a program that set the standard for this genre. How long before? Well around 30 years before. The MC was Johnny Carson’s man, Ed McMahon and the program, which made it’s debut in 1983 was called Star Search and over it’s run to 1995 it had the Who’s Who of the Music World on it as contestants. Now just to name drop, contestants, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, LeAnn Rimes, Alanis Morrisette, Jessica Simpson and the list will go on forever. It was one of the most influential programs that started and created a lot of the Stars of Today.
No, I’m not focusing on the Program, but the first Vocal Group winner. This will take me back to my Country Roots, which at best are not too deep. But this Country Pop Group has been a favourite of mine for some time. I own there CD’s (old school) and a DVD (again old school).
They started as the road band for Country Singer Don King and after he retired in 1981 they decided to form their own band. The band was named after a “Street” and the lead singer and songwriter Mark Miller has some moves. I love his voice, how he presents a song and the entire band. They are not a “Huge” Band in the country field but have had # 1 hits and won many awards from 1993 through 1998.
Mark Miller once said that success in the music world opens the gates to money, fame, sex, and power. I think because of his deep religious roots Miller was only challenged by the “Power” aspect because he is very competitive. I have never seen them Live and I think I’m getting a little too old for concerts, but on a trip back to Toronto on the weekend, I transferred 100 Country Songs onto a USB drive and my wife allowed me to turn it up “a bit” on the 8 hour drive (4 there and 4 back) and Sawyer Brown was definitely on the drive a few times.
They all went to Nashville around 1980 and took varying roles in singer Don King’s band. In 1983 they decided to work together without King, first as Savanna and then as Sawyer Brown, taking their name from a street in Nashville.
In 1983, they took part in a US television talent show, Star Search. They won the first prize of $100, 000 and a recording contract. Their first single, ‘Leona’, was a US country hit and they toured with Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.
Miller wrote their second single, a country number 1 hit, ‘Step That Step’ (1985), about the perseverance needed in the music business.
To this end, they have established themselves as a goodtime country band, enjoying a string of hit singles in the late 80’s with ‘Used To Blue’, ‘Betty’s Bein’ Bad’, ‘This Missin’ You Heart Of Mine’ and a remake of George Jones’ ‘The Race Is On’. ‘My Baby’s Gone’ made number 11 on the country charts in 1988 and, despite losing some of their impetus (Randall departed in 1990 and was replaced by Duncan Cameron (b. 27 July 1956, Utica, New York, USA)), they returned with two Top 5 hits from 1992’s highly successful The Dirt Road.
The band have achieved a consistent string of Top 10 hits since then, establishing themselves as one of the most successful and long-running country acts on the scene. They won the Vocal Group Award at the 32nd Academy Of Country Music Awards.