BiographyBlackHawk is a meeting place for many musical journeys.
Henry Paul has been a part of three great bands, The Outlaws, The Henry Paul Band, and BlackHawk. These share three common denominators: harmony, melody, and lyrical integrity. Dave Robbins is an architect of popular music, from the songs he's written for Eric Clapton to the unforgettable Restless Heart. Anthony Crawford, a songwriter and key bandmember with both Neil Young and Steve Winwood, has found his way to the doorstep of this band's future.
These three men put their indelible stamp on one sound - BlackHawk.
The Flight of BlackHawk...
1972 - The Outlaws are a local southern rock band in Tampa, Florida, fronted by singer-songwriters Henry Paul and Hughie Thomasson.
1974 - The Outlaws open for Lynyrd Skynyrd at Mother's Music Emporium in Nashville; Ronnie Van Zant gives the band their first big break. Opening act Billy & Tommy Crain are later to play a significant role. Also present is Skynyrd's producer Al Kooper, keyboardist on Bob Dylan's seminal Highway 61 Revisited and Bringin' it all Back Home.
1975 - Clive Davis at Arista Records signs The Outlaws as the new label's first rock band. The Outlaws is released in August, and the band goes on tour opening for the Doobie Brothers. The album peaks at number 13 on Billboard.
1976 - The Outlaws' second record Lady In Waiting is released, featuring a version of Bill Monroe's "Freeborn Man"; the band plays a number of concerts for Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign.
1977 - The Outlaws work with Eagles producer Bill Scymczyk for their Hurry Sundown album; the band tours with The Allman Brothers. In August, Henry Paul leaves the Outlaws to front his own band.
1979 - Van Stephenson begins to make a name as a Nashville songwriter when Crystal Gayle cuts "Your Kisses Will". Dave Robbins moves to Nashville from Atlanta. The Henry Paul Band releases Grey Ghost on Atlantic Records; the album receives critical praise for the title track, dedicated to Skynyrd's fallen frontman.
1980 - Van Stephenson records China Girl for Handshake Records. Van meets Dave Robbins; the two become co-writers. The Henry Paul Band releases Feel The Heat, featuring the songwriting collaboration of Henry and Jim Peterik. Dave Robbins tours Scandanavia with Van Stephenson and Bobby Springfield.
1981 - The Henry Paul Band releases its third album, Anytime.
1982 - the Henry Paul Band releases its self-titled final album. Henry and Van are in Miami, Florida, recording at the same time and know of each other's music, but their paths won't cross for several years. Kenny Rogers records two Robbins/Stephenson songs. Two Robbins/Stephenson songs, "All My Life" by Rogers and "Everybody’s Dream Girl" by Dan Seals, bow on the country chart the same week.
1983 - Henry Paul rejoins Hughie Thomasson for a new Outlaws reunion. Anthony Crawford joins Neil Young's band and begins recording with Neil in California.
1984 - A new band produced by Tim Dubois cuts several Stephenson/Robbins songs for its debut album and takes their name - Restless Heart - from one of the songs. Van Stephenson's album Righteous Anger is released on MCA; "Modern Day Delilah" becomes a Top 20 hit.
1985 - Restless Heart debuts on the country charts with two singles written by Robbins & Stephenson - "Let the Heartache Ride" and "(Back to the) Heartbreak Kid."
1986 - The reunited Outlaws release Soldiers of Fortune. After three years of recording and touring, Anthony Crawford leaves Neil Young's band.
1987 - Dave Robbins tours Australia with popular act Ferrell & Ferrell
1988 - The Outlaws play Nashville, where Henry Paul meets Van Stephenson and Anthony Crawford; the Outlaws have recorded two of Stephenson's songs. Restless Heart scores the two biggest hits of their career with the Robbins/Stephenson songs, "Bluest Eyes In Texas" and "Big Dreams in a Small Town." Henry begins making regular trips to Nashville to write songs. Dave Robbins tours Russia with Wings drummer Joe English for a U.S. State Department sponsored series called The Peace Committee.
1989 - Henry leaves the Outlaws and begins commuting to Nashville to write songs and pursue a record contract as a country artist. At this point his cowriters include Van Stephenson and Anthony Crawford. Anthony records his first album for RCA, which was never released. Anthony then joins Steve Winwood's band for the Roll With It tour.
1990 - Henry is introduced to Dave Robbins by Van Stephenson; the three begin writing songs and performing as a trio around Nashville.
1991 - Anthony Crawford leaves Steve Winwood's band but will continue to collaborate with him as a songwriter.
1992 - The trio Of Henry, Van, and Dave is signed to Arista Nashville by new label president Tim Dubois, longtime writing partner of Stephenson and Robbins.
1993 - BlackHawk debuts on the country charts in late October with "Goodbye Says It All," which would quickly become the band's first Top 10 hit.
1994 - The debut album is released in February and is quickly certified gold; the band tours with Little Texas and Tim McGraw; all four singles that follow are Top 10. "Every Once In A While" goes to number one.
1995 - BlackHawk is certified platinum. In February, the band helps launch Country in the Rockies, which becomes an annual event to raise money for the TJ Martell Foundation. In June the band is honored with the fan-voted "Best New Group" award at the TNN/Music City News Awards. Their sophomore album I'm Not Strong Enough to Say No is released in September; the title track goes to number one, followed by three more Top 10's. The album is certified gold two months after its release. The band plays Farm Aid in October to a crowd of 50,000.
1996 - BlackHawk debuts on the Grand Ole Opry in February; "Big Guitar" is a summertime hit. The band tours with Wynonna while working on their third album. They receive both ACM and CMA nominations. BlackHawk is certified double platinum in August.
1997 - Love & Gravity is released in July. The album debuts in Billboard's Top 10, but the label's choice as a first single doesn't crack the Top 20. The band headlines a tour of fairs and festivals and is nominated for an American Music Award for Favorite Band.
1998 - "Postmarked Birmingham" peaks on the chart in February. The band goes into the studio to work on a fourth album and tours across the US and Canada. The Sky's the Limit is released in September. The album yields the top 5 single "There You Have It" and will sell near gold.
1999 - Van Stephenson is diagnosed with melanoma in January. He joins the band for a performance on the Grand Ole Opry, but he will be off the road until April for treatment. "Your Own Little Corner of My Heart" is released in February and later peaks at number 19. The band acts as celebrity sponsors for the Run on the Row 5K during Fan Fair week and plays an acoustic concert after the run. Stephenson's health forces him to leave the road again in late June.
2000 - Van announces his official retirement from touring in February. Henry and Dave vow to continue, promoting bassist Randy Threet to high harmony vocalist and going on a radio tour to promote their Greatest Hits album. "I Need You All the Time" is released in March; Greatest Hits is released in May. BlackHawk leaves Arista in June when the label consolidates. The band tours through the rest of the year and writes material for a new album.
2001 - Van Stephenson loses his battle with cancer in April.
2002 - BlackHawk is signed to Sony Nashville, and their album Spirit Dancer is released. It marks a shift in their creative agenda and becomes one of their most popular records. The first single "Days of America" is chosen for its reflection of the American spirit and becomes BlackHawk's 15th song to hit the Billboard Top 40. "I Will" gains attention on the video charts.
2003 - BlackHawk adds new partner Anthony Crawford. The band's performances become legendary, and their position in popular music is assured.
2004 - BlackHawk scales its lineup down to five. While keeping its agressive performance style intact, the sound becomes acoustic-driven, revealing the true power of three-part vocal harmony and the virtuosity of their musicianship. By autumn a new album was started for a 2005 release.
2005 - Finding a home for the new album at Rust Records, progress continues on the recording. After trying a few approaches, the label and BlackHawk agree that the group would self-produce the album. Anthony recorded with Neil Young on his "Prairie Wind" album, and performed at the Ryman Auditorium for the taping of Neil's theatre-release film "Heart of Gold."
2006 - In January the first half of the new album is handed in for mixing by acclaimed engineer/producer Kevin Beamish (REO Speedwagon, Reba McEntire, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney). The single will be introduced at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville and a live showcase on February 15 will mark the return of BlackHawk to the country music mainstream. The single will be released March 1, with the album to follow in early June. The group will continue recording the second half of the record in January and February.