Each Wednesday we take a trip down memory lane to highlight a classic country artist. This week we're flashing back to the early 1980's with Sawyer Brown.

The guys of Sawyer Brown were originally members of Don King's road band and when he stopped touring in 1981, they decided to form their own group.  They adopted the name Sawyer Brown after Sawyer Brown Road, where they spent their time rehearsing.

Before landing a record deal, they worked relentlessly.  They would performed five sets per night, six nights a week.  In 1983 they made it on to Star Search.  Their goal was simply to get a videotape to promote themselves.  However, they took it a step further by winning the grand prize of $100,000 and a record contract.

They signed on with Capitol Records and had a Top 20 hit in 1984 with a song called Leona.  Following that, they hit #1 with Step That Step.  They struggled making the Top 10 after the initial success so they switched to Curb Records in 1991. There they worked with a songwriter who really helped Sawyer Brown redefine themselves.  Critics said the group was a flamboyant bubble gum pop act that put style over substance.  It is said that The Walk was the turning point in their career.

In the late 1990's they just weren't getting the radio airplay they needed.  They switched record labels but it didn't really help them.

Mark Miller was good friends with football player Brook Berringer, who died in a plane crash in 1996, just two days before the NFL draft.  His brother and girlfriend were in the plane with him.  Mark served as a pallbearer at the funeral.

Sawyer Brown recorded a song called The Nebraska Song as a tribute to Brook.  It's track 18 (his jersey number) on their Six Days On The Road album.  The first live performance was at the University of Nebraska, where Brook was a student and member of the football team.

The Country Classic Flashback is brought to you by Midwest Machinery on East Highway 23 in Sauk Rapids with eight other locations in Central Minnesota.