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Blackhawk (band)

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Blackhawk in concert, 2024: Dave Robbins (left) and Henry Paul (right)
Blackhawk in concert, 2024: Dave Robbins (left) and Henry Paul (right)
Background information
OriginNashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Years active1992–present
LabelsArista Nashville, Columbia, Mirror Lake
MembersDave Robbins
Henry Paul
Past membersVan Stephenson
Randy Threet

Blackhawk (stylized as BlackHawk) is an American country music group founded in 1992 by Henry Paul (lead vocals, mandolin, acoustic guitar), Van Stephenson (background vocals, electric guitar), and Dave Robbins (background vocals, keyboards). Prior to the group's formation, Paul had been a member of the Southern rock band Outlaws, while Stephenson was a solo rock artist.

In 1993, Blackhawk was signed to a record deal with Arista Nashville. Their debut single, "Goodbye Says It All", was released that year, peaking at No. 11 on Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs);[1] their first album (1994's Blackhawk) was certified 2× Multi-Platinum by the RIAA. Throughout the rest of the 1990s, the band continued to chart singles, in addition to releasing three more albums and a Greatest Hits package.

Van Stephenson departed the group in 2000 due to complications from skin cancer. Randy Threet, who made his first appearance on Spirit Dancer, the band's fifth studio album, stepped in to sing high harmony. [2]


The original lineup of Blackhawk, circa 1993. Left to right: Henry Paul, Dave Robbins, and Van Stephenson.

Blackhawk was founded in 1992 by lead vocalist/guitarist Henry Paul, vocalist/guitarist Van Stephenson, and keyboardist/vocalist Dave Robbins.[1][3] Prior to the band's foundation, Paul was a member of the Southern rock band Outlaws, and Stephenson had a pop hit in 1984 with "Modern Day Delilah".[1] After the latter, Robbins and Stephenson began writing songs together, including several singles for the band Restless Heart. After exiting Outlaws, Paul began writing with Robbins and Stephenson as well and thus decided to form a band with them.[4]

1993–1995: Blackhawk[edit]

In 1993, Blackhawk signed to Arista Nashville, releasing their debut single "Goodbye Says It All" that year. The song, which peaked at No. 11 on the Hot Country Songs charts in early 1994, served as the lead-off to their self-titled debut album, which also produced four more singles: "Every Once in a While", "I Sure Can Smell the Rain", "Down in Flames", and the Jeff Black-penned "That's Just About Right". These songs all reached Top Ten on the country charts. BlackHawk was certified 2 × Multi-Platinum by the RIAA for shipping two million copies in the United States.

Also in 1994, they were nominated by the Academy of Country Music for the Top New Vocal Group award, along with Boy Howdy and Gibson/Miller Band, but lost to Gibson/Miller.

1995–1996: Strong Enough[edit]

Blackhawk's second album, Strong Enough, was released in 1995. Its lead-off single, "I'm Not Strong Enough to Say No" peaked at No. 2, followed by "Like There Ain't No Yesterday" at No. 3. Both of these singles were also Number One hits on the RPM Top Country Tracks charts in Canada. However, none of the other three singles from the album reached Top Ten in either country with the exception of "Big Guitar" reaching No. 8 in Canada, and "King of the World", the final single, fell short of the Top 40. Nonetheless, Strong Enough earned the group an RIAA gold certification for selling 500,000 copies.

1997–1999: Love & Gravity and The Sky's the Limit[edit]

Love & Gravity was the title of Blackhawk's third album, released in 1997.[1] Only two singles were released from this album: the lead-off "Hole in My Heart" at No. 31 and "Postmarked Birmingham", one of Phil Vassar's first compositions, at No. 37. The group's chart success was restored in late 1998, however, with the release of "There You Have It", which went on to peak at No. 4. This song brought Blackhawk to the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time, peaking at No. 41 on that chart. "There You Have It" was the first of two singles from 1998's The Sky's the Limit, which also produced the No. 27 "Your Own Little Corner of My Heart".

2000–2003: Greatest Hits and Spirit Dancer[edit]

In 2000, Blackhawk released their Greatest Hits collection, composed of the greatest hits from their first four albums. One of this album's newly recorded tracks, "I Need You All the Time", was a minor Top 40 hit on the country charts. Shortly afterward, Stephenson departed the group, due to complications from skin cancer, from which he died in 2001.


BlackHawk continued to tour.

Down from the Mountain was the band's sixth studio album and was released in 2011. It contained nine new songs from the band and a different version of the song "Forgiveness", which appeared on the band's previous studio album, Spirit Dancer.

In 2014, Blackhawk released their seventh studio album, Brothers Of The Southland and a collection of newly recorded versions of their biggest hits, Greatest Hits & More, that also included two songs from their latest studio album.

A Christmas album The Spirit of Christmas was released in 2019.

Just About Right: Live From Atlanta is an acoustic live record recorded at Eddie's Attic in Atlanta, GA, released in 2020 and featuring members of the original backing band.[5]

In 2022, a new album containing enhanced never-before-heard recordings with Van Stephenson titled Blue Highway was released.[6]


Awards and nominations[edit]

American Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1996 BlackHawk Favorite Country Duo or Group Nominated

TNN/Music City News Country Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1995 BlackHawk Vocal Group or Duo of Tomorrow Won
1997 Vocal Band of the Year Nominated
1998 Nominated

Academy of Country Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1994 BlackHawk Top New Vocal Group or Duet Nominated
1996 Top Vocal Group of the Year Nominated
1997 Nominated

Country Music Association Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1995 BlackHawk Vocal Group of the Year Nominated
1996 Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d e Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "BlackHawk biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
  2. ^ "BlackHawk Singer/Songwriter van Stephenson Remembered as Artist and Humanitarian". 10 April 2001.
  3. ^ "BlackHawk biography". Oldies.com. Retrieved 2007-11-27.
  4. ^ Buddy Seigal (April 19, 1994). "Former Outlaw breaks into new territory". The Los Angeles Times. pp. F2. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  5. ^ "Blackhawk to Release Just About Right: Live from Atlanta on Friday, November 13".
  6. ^ "90s Country Band BlackHawk to Return with New/Old Album". 30 April 2022.

External links[edit]