LINEUP

SAWYER BROWN

 

It’s hard to know where to start when talking about Sawyer Brown.

 

More than 4,500 shows and counting. More than a million miles behind them and still seeing the highway miles click by outside their bus window. Twenty-three albums. More than 50 chart singles. CMA, ACM, and CMT awards on the shelf. To pull a line from one of the band’s enduring hits: “This is the life and times of a travelin’ band.” A traveling band, indeed. Always on the move—on the road, on stage, and in their career. When asked about what keeps him motivated on the road, lead singer Mark Miller says, “It’s playing the next show. Be grateful for where you’ve been and be excited about where you’re going.”

 

That excitement has been on display since the very first time Sawyer Brown stepped foot onstage in the early 1980s. Beginning as the road band for another singer, Sawyer Brown broke out on their own playing everything from clubs to pig roasts in those earliest days. “There’s no such thing as a gig we wouldn’t take,” Miller laughs, remembering the beginning of the ride. “We knew that we wanted to play music and we knew that we wanted to work at being the best live band there was—and the only way to do that, was to get out and play shows. And so we did.”

 

It would certainly be an understatement to say that Sawyer Brown has “played shows.” The band has earned its place as one of the premier live acts in music. The band began by playing 275-300 nights a year for the first decade or more of its career—and has never come off the road. Tireless road warriors, the band thrives on playing live. “Live is where it all comes together for us,” keyboardist Hobie Hubbard says. “The audience brings its own energy, we bring our own energy and the music—and the combination of all of that is what makes playing live so unique. It exists for that moment in time—you’re either there, or you’re not a part of that moment. We’re blessed to be able to be a part of those moments night after night.”

 

The band’s live shows are legendary. Having been described as “the Rolling Stones of Country Music,” the band bounds onto the stage night after night, delivering its own unique brand of high-energy entertainment, and the band remains a perennial favorite at fairs, festivals, theatres, and casinos. “We love getting to hear the stories of where people have seen us play—and the number of times they’ve seen us play,” drummer Joe Smyth says. “For some, we’re their weekend getaway—they’ve seen us all over the country. But we never lose sight of the fact that on any given night, it’s going to be the first time someone’s seen us—and that’s exciting. We want that show, that night, to live up to everything they hoped for when they came to the show. Couldn’t ask for better motivation.”

 

Keyboard player Hobie Hubbard agrees: “It’s always humbling when someone comes up after a show and tells us that they hear themselves or their family in our music. I hope that they can look up there on stage and see themselves—because we can sure look out at them and see ourselves. Every day we’re on the road, one of the best parts of the day is walking around whatever town we’re in and just soaking it in—listening to folks talking in restaurants, just watching life unfold one story at a time.”

 

Mark Miller and his band mates have been singing our life back to us now over the span of the band’s twenty-three albums. In addition to writing and co-writing many of the bands hits, Miller has also produced many of the band’s albums. “Mark’s got a great set of ears,” bass guitarist Jim Scholten says. “When we go into the studio to work on an album, we all contribute and all kick around ideas. And Mark’s got the gift of being able to corral our energy and encourage the best out of all of us.” Scholten laughs and adds, “Just don’t tell him I said that.”

 

Miller’s creativity extends even beyond Sawyer Brown. He discovered the multiplatinum contemporary Christian band Casting Crowns and has produced all of their records—including winning a Grammy for one of their albums. “Working with Casting Crowns has been an amazing adventure from day one,” Miller says. “Mark Hall is one of the finest songwriters I’ve ever known, and he and the band have an absolute commitment to spreading the Gospel through the songs. It’s a blessing to get to walk along side them in the studio.”

 

Connection—with Sawyer Brown, the key is in forging those connections. “Every night we’re on stage, I look at my brothers beside me on stage and think how blessed am I that I get to share the ride with these guys. And then I look out at the audience and I’m grateful that those folks have taken this ride with us,” Hobie Hubbard says.

 

And it really does all come down to those people in the audience for this band. As Mark Miller says, “We’re all this together—all of us. Just like the line in ‘Travelin’ Band” says, ‘Now I want to take this time to thank you’—I wanted our fans to hear a thank-you coming straight from me.” It is a thank-you that at this point literally hundreds of thousands of cheering fans have experienced not only on record, but at the band’s legendary live shows as well. Known for their high-energy, no-holds-barred approach to the concert stage, the band continues to fill venues across the country with the same enthusiasm they have had from day one. “That’s one thing that has never changed,” says lead guitarist Shayne Hill. “The business part of the music business may be changing by the minute, but playing live is still about the same thing it’s always been about: connecting to the audience right there in the moment.”

 

Sawyer Brown is about connection. In fact, it’s likely safe to say that connection continues to be the driving force of the band. As note connects to note, as singer connects to listener, as each mile of road connects to the one that follows it, the band senses—and forges—those connections every time they record and every time they hit the stage. “I’m a real believer that things happen for a reason—that they unfold the way they do because there’s Someone bigger than us driving this bus,” Miller says. “We know we’ve still have a lot of miles in us. We’ve got our bags packed, got our gear ready, and we’ve got plenty to sing about. We want see where the trip takes us next.”

 

Wherever that may be, the lyrics to “Travelin’ Band” will come to life—

 

And now I’d like to take this time to thank you

And though it’s been a long and winding road

I count my blessings when I see your faces

And I look down at this guitar in my hand

And I take my place

On the stage

In a travelin’ band.

I’m in a travelin’ band.

CHELY WRIGHT

Chely Wright rose to fame as a commercial country singer in the 90's, and has since released eight studio albums and charted more than 15 singles on the Billboard charts. The Academy of Country Msuic named Wright "Top New Female Vocalist of 1995." Her first hit came in 1997 with "Shut Up and Drive" followed two years later by her first number one single, "Single White Female," and in 2005 "The Bumper of My S.U.V." In 2010, Chely Wright released her eighth album, Lifted Off the Ground poduced by Rodney Crowell, revealing a dramatic artistic transformation and emerging as a singer songwriter of the first order. Chely made history by being the first country music star to publicly come out as gay, which she revealed in her 2010 memoir entitled "Like Me." In 2016, Wright released her critically-acclaimed studio album entitled I Am The Rain, produced by Joe Henry. The end of 2018 saw the release of the holiday EP Santa Will Find You, which No Depression called the "warmest, most-family oriented" of recent holiday records. Chely will release a new Americana EP entitled Revival in May of 2019. .... VIEW MORE

DYLAN BLOOM BAND

Staring in 2009, Dylan Bloom began fronting his first band alongside his Father, Dean Bloom. They performed country rock in his hometown and other small towns around Nebraska. In 2012, Dylan released his first album "Strong in a Small Town", followed by a sophomore release "Population 1213", in 2016. 

Dylan has become one of Nebraska's finest country acts, performance alongside and opening for some of the industries largest acts. Recording in Nashville, TN, the new EP is sure to grab the attention of fans and audiences on their 2018 Truck Driver Tour. Dylan and his high energy band bring their style of country/rock to county fairs, festivals, honky tonks all over the nation. 

TIM CAVANAGH

When Tim Cavanagh finished school, he took a career aptitude test and based on his verbal ability score, it suggested that he become a mime. Unfortunately, that was the year mimes went on strike for better working conditions (bigger make-believe boxes to be trapped in, a less stiff imaginary wind to run against, etc.). So Tim walked away from the mime world, which was hard. While walking away, he pretended to be pulled along by a big invisible dog. 

 

For the next three years, Tim taught religion at an all-girls Catholic high school. At night, he broke into comedy at Zanies, Chicago’s best comedy club. This dual role, religion teacher by day and comedian by night, began to take its toll. One night, as Tim threatened to call a heckler’s parents, he realized it was time to choose one career. 

 

He picked comedy. Soon his funny songs were being heard nationally on the legendary “Dr. Demento” radio show. With an ever growing collection of fun, witty tunes, Tim was a perfect fit for radio. In spite of an allergy to giraffes that kept him away from a number of Morning Zoos, he has been a frequent and favorite guest on drive-time radio shows across the country.

 
 
 

RICHARD REESE

 

Richard Reese is a veteran and underground hero. Reese has been bringing laughter to crowds for years! He was voted “Most Entertaining” at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas and won at the Great American Comedy Festival in 2008. He received much praise for his comedy specials entitled Smoke, Jokes & Lasers and Always Laugh Forever Before You Die Yesterday. In 2016, Jetpack Tuxedo arrived on digital platforms. As a tenacious agent of humor, Reese brings an original and unpredictable approach to his show. Creatively witty and intelligently silly, this comedian/filmmaker continues to delight audiences near and far.

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