Henry Paul On The Outlaws, Blackhawk, and a Lifetime of Great Music
Courtesy - Swampland.com
by Michael Buffalo Smith
He was a member of the legendary Southern Rock band The Outlaws, He also scored big with his own Henry Paul Band, and as a member of Top 40 country band Blackhawk. Now, Henry Paul is touring and recording with a new set of Outlaws, as well as assembling a new Blackhawk record that will feature some of his classic rock pals. Life is good for the Florida rocker. We caught up with Henry for this long awaited GRITZ interview.
I know you were born in New York. You moved to Florida at a really young age, right?
I was eight. I was in third grade. I’ll never forget it. It was great man, (laughs) it was like culture shock. I mean, I come from a working family farm that grew a thousand acres of sweet corn. We’d hire 70 migrant workers to go into the field and care for it. When I got to Florida my parents split. My mom packed her stuff up in her 1957 Oldsmobile and we drove down 301 to Lakeland. I kept thinking to myself that there were going to be like indians and natives in the jungle down there. I wasn’t that far off. (Laughs) The obvious emotional issues on the table were large. But getting there and being turned loose in the orange groves and the phosphate pits and the many, many lakes and fishing - it was huge. It was also an unusual time in our country. Segregation was front and center. Nobody was pulling punches. It was very graphic and clear where people stood. That was a shock to me, because where I came from we didn’t see much of that.
BlackHawk Presents $20,000 Check to Nashville's Vanderbilt-Ingram for Cancer Research
Annual donation brings grand total to $100,000 raised on behalf of late bandmate Van Stephenson
(Pictured L-R: BlackHawk's Dave Robbins, Van Stephenson Memorial Cancer Research Fund volunteer
Lori Stefanski, BlackHawk's Henry Paul and Dr. Hal Moses)
One of country music's most loved groups, BlackHawk, has once again raised funding for Nashville's Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center on behalf of the Van Stephenson Memorial Cancer Research Fund. BlackHawk's two surviving founding members – Henry Paul and Dave Robbins – presented their annual donation to the hospital in honor of their third bandmate Van, who died from melanoma skin cancer in 2001. The latest donation brings their total to $100,000 raised for Vanderbilt-Ingram's research lab since 2006.
“The funds that BlackHawk has raised and donated have made a real difference in our ability to accelerate research and provide better treatments for patients with malignant melanoma,” says Dr. Hal Moses, director of the Frances Williams Preston Research Laboratories at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
In addition to their check presentation, Henry and Dave, along with current guitarist and vocalist Randy Threet, also visited with staff and patients throughout the hospital, performing some of their hits from their career to help bring a smile to their faces. “We want people to know that we are thinking about them and we have been affected by the disease as well with our loss of Van,” says Henry. “Sometimes music is a very uplifting distraction from the crazy reality of battling a deadly disease.”
Henry Paul looks back on BlackHawk’s legacy with the release of Greatest Hits & More.
Today, BlackHawk release their new retrospective album, Greatest Hits & More, which features hit songs and new tracks. Henry Paul was recently interviewed about the album and the band’s legacy. Here is what he had to say!
1. You are getting set to release Greatest Hits & More. Taking a look back, how do you feel about those songs now vs when you recorded them?
We’ve sung most of these songs every night since they were recorded and the audience always rewards us with their overwhelming approval and appreciation. I always feel lucky to have these songs to sing and be identified by the integrity they represent.
2. Do you have a favorite track or one that you hold particularly dear to your heart? If so, which one and why?
“Every Once In A While” was an early collaboration between Dave, Van, and myself and it was our first number one record. That has significant meaning as do the lyrics that mirror feelings for a first love.
3. There are two new tracks included on Greatest Hits & More. Those are from your recent album Brothers of The Southland – “Brothers of The Southland” and “Brighter.” How does the music you make now differ from the music you made in the past?
There is a creative freedom that comes with being your own producer and record label that is very rewarding, and there are certain stylistic similarities in our new music compared to our earlier work.
4. Speaking of Brothers of The Southland, it must have been a hard process after the passing of band member Van Stephenson. How was it to go back into the recording studio? How does his legacy live on within BlackHawk’s music?
Losing Van was devastating on many levels. To lose a friend is always heartbreaking. To lose your creative partner has many intricate layers loss. Part of your musical personality is embodied in that person and that is irreplaceable. We have tried to honor Van by establishing a charitable organization in his name.
5. Where does the name BlackHawk come from?
In the process of coming up with a name for the group, Van saw the name BlackHawk Printing on the side of a truck on his way to a songwriting session one day. He suggested that as a name and we all loved it.
6. You’ve been touring quite a bit. How are the audiences today different from back in the 90s?
The human spirit is consistent in it’s appreciation of music. Our audiences are always very generous and kind.
7. What do you love most about performing live?
To see the smiles.
8. Henry, you are also in the band Outlaws, so while on tour with both bands, what’s it like opening for yourself?
At times it’s like a history lesson. Explaining when the respective bands started and the different impacts both bands had on you during different periods of your life. It makes for a full and rewarding evening for me.
9. You’ve had dozens of top ten hits over the years. For that person who may not know the band, what is the one track they should listen to and why?
“Goodbye Says It All” is a hallmark song for BlackHawk. Musically it showcases the three singers in a very personal light, and lyrically it’s really quite incredible.
10. What’s next for BlackHawk?
Another studio record in the next year or two and a Christmas album down the road.
BlawkHawk to release “Greatest Hits & More” on October 28, 2014, a 13-song collection of hits plus two new songs
Multi-platinum country music band BlackHawk will release Greatest Hits & More on Loud & Proud Records on October 28, 2014. Greatest Hits & More tells the story of one of the most successful country music groups of the mid 1990’s. (pre-order now)
This 13-song collection (track listing below) of new studio recordings from yesterday and today includes their #1 hit “Every Once In A While,” Top 10 singles including “Goodbye Says It All,”“I Sure Can Smell The Rain” and “That’s Just About Right” as well as two new songs “Brothers of the Southland” and “Brighter” from the band’s first studio release in 12 years, the 2014 album Brothers of the Southland which was co-produced by Dale Oliver (Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman).
“Dave and I are proud to see BlackHawk’s musical journey continue with the release of the Greatest Hits & More this fall,” said Henry Paul. “Perpetuating BlackHawk’s musical legacy continues to be a very fulfilling endeavor and our relationship with the fans is uniquely rewarding. Our late partner Van Stephenson’s last request that we keep BlackHawk going and do what we can to find a cure for cancer lives on as he rides along with us on his ‘Ships Of Heaven.’”
BlackHawk has had an active 2014 on the national touring circuit, dates are continuing through the end of this year and an even more comprehensive tour schedule is planned for 2015. See all tour dates below.
BlackHawk is Henry Paul (guitarist/vocalist) Dave Robbins (and keyboardist/vocalist). Along with third founding member Van Stephenson, Henry Paul and Dave Robbins exploded onto the country music landscape in 1993 with their self-titled album and top 10 hit single “Goodbye Says It All.” Three more hit singles followed (“Every Once In A While,” “I Sure Can Smell The Rain” and “That’s Just About Right”), propelling the album to platinum status. They maintained that pace in the years that followed, scoring a dozen top ten hits, including two number ones, while selling more than seven million records. Tragedy struck in 1999 when Van was diagnosed with melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. After a long and courageous fight, Van lost his battle in 2001. Henry and Dave honored his dying wish that Blackhawk continue to make great music and fight for a cure. They established the Van Stephenson Memorial Cancer Research Fund in his memory, donating the proceeds of their efforts to the Vanderbilt Cancer Research Center.
* With The Outlaws
Sep 26 – Annapolis MD @ Ramshead on Stage*
Sep 27 – Leesburg VA @ Tally Ho Theatre*
Oct 4 – Ravensood WV @ Ravenswood Octoberfest
Oct 5 – Dover, DE @ Fordham Brewery Country Jam*
Oct 10 – Sylvania, GA @ Screven Motor Sports Complex
Oct 11 – Falkville, AL @ City of Falkville Fall Festival
Oct 18 – McDonough, GA @ Harper Event Center*
Oct 24 – Louisville, KY @ Diamond Concert Hall*
Oct 25 – Marshall, MI @ Back Road Station*
Nov 8 – Claremore, OK @ Cherokee Casino – Will Rogers Downs*
Nov 20 – Deadwood, SD @ Deadwood Grand Mountain Hotel*
Nov 21 – Medina MN @ Medina Entertainment Center*
Nov 23 – Black River Falls, WI @ Ho-Chunk Gaming*
Dec 4 – Pittsfield, MA @ The Colonial Theatre*
Dec 19 – Clearwater, FL @ Capitol Theater*
Dec 20 – Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live Theatre*
- Goodbye Says It All
- Every Once In A While
- Down In Flames
- I Sure Can Smell The Rain
- That’s Just About Right
- I’m Not Strong Enough To Say No
- Like There Ain’t No Yesterday
- Almost A Memory Now
- Big Guitar
- Postmarked Birmingham
- There You Have It
- Brighter (from Brothers Of The Southland)
- Brothers Of The Southland (from Brothers Of The Southland)
CMA Closeup previews the new Blackhawk album “Brothers Of The Southland” – album out today!
Blackhawk have released their new album, Brothers Of The Southland, today, July 8th. This album is the band’s first in 12 years and, as the title suggests, is a nod to the pioneers of Southern Rock. CMA Closeup has posted a full stream of the album, click here to listen now! The album is available from iTunes and Amazon!
“Brothers Of The Southalnd” single.
Watch Blackhawk footage from their performance at the 2014 CMA Music Festival in Nashville
Watch a video montage of Blackhawk, live at the CMA Music Festival, last week in Nashville, TN. The video is set to new music from their upcoming album, Brothers Of The Southland, which is due in stores July 8th. This is the band’s first album in 12 years and is co-produced by Dale Oliver (Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman). Click here to pre-order or click the image below!