BlackHawk, the group with one of country's most recognizable sounds of the '90s, returns with the song, "Heart With A View," which Billboard exclusively premieres today (June 3). Have a listen below.
The single is from BlackHawk's forthcoming "Brothers of the Southland" (due July 8), its first album in 12 years. The song ties the band's future together with its past, as lead singer Henry Paul tells Billboard. "It was written by Dave [Robbins], Van Stephenson and myself early in the creative stages of Blackhawk's development. It's about someone who is looking past their current relationship with their eyes on someone new.
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"We recorded the acoustic demo to document the song and it offers a rare look into BlackHawk's musical beginnings. Having Van's talents as a singer & songwriter on this new album is a very magical musical moment for both Dave & I and I'm sure the fans as well." In addition to the single, Stephenson can be heard on "Wide Open Spaces" and "Baby, The Rain Must Fall."
"Heart With a View" is in some ways a tribute to Stephenson,who lost a battle with cancer in 2001. The band was formed in 1992 by Paul, a one-time member of The Outlaws, and Stephenson and Robbins -- who'd penned many songs for big country acts in the '80s and '90s, including Crystal Gayle, Kenny Rogers, and Restless Heart.
Signing with Arista in 1993, BlackHawk made their Billboard chart debut by years' end with "Goodbye Says It All," which peaked at No. 11 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Their next six releases all hit the top ten, including "Every Once In A While" and "I'm Not Strong Enough To Say No," both of which peaked at No. 2. They also scored back-to-back gold records with their self-titled debut (which was also certified platinum) and 1995's "Strong Enough."
Paul says that keeping the music of BlackHawk alive was a wish of Stephenson's. "Van's dying requests were ‘Keep BlackHawk going, because there's a lot of great music left in the band… and do what you can do to try and help find a cure for cancer," he said. To that end, he and Dave founded the Van Stephenson Memorial Fund, which raises funds for organizations like the Vanderbilt Women's Cancer Research Center in Nashville.