HALEYVILLE - High energy through an incredible live performance placed Sawyer Brown at the top of the list to claim the headliner spot for the 2020 Haleyville 9-1-1 festival, which will kick off Friday, June 5, downtown.
Sawyer Brown will take the main stage for a lively show from approximately 9:45 p.m.-11:15 p.m.
Formed in Nashville, Sawyer Brown has been a top-notch performing group since the 1980s, known for their high level during concerts, having performed more than 4,500 shows worldwide, noted Brandon Norris, organizer of the annual 9-1-1 Festival concert each year.
“The number one thing I was looking for was high energy, live shows,” Norris stated about the acts who will be performing this year.
This desire was built upon the incredible live performance by country artist Neal McCoy as the headline act for the 2019 9-1-1 festival, Norris indicated.
“I knew whoever we got this year would have to be comparable to Neal’s live shows,” he pointed out. “That was my number one priority, looking at how good a live show, a live performance (could be).
“I am super excited,” Norris stated. “This show is built on high energy and crowd interaction, great vocals, great live performance.”
“No matter what their (the audience’s) taste of music is, (the audience) needs to be there to see this show,” added Norris. “The show will stand on its own merit. They need to be there to see it.”
Since their debut on “Star Search” in the early 1980s, Sawyer Brown has released 23 studio albums with more than 50 chart singles.
The group has taken home such awards as CMA, ACM, CMT and MCN. The five-man band includes singer Mark Miller, keyboardist Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard, lead guitarist Shayne Hill, bassist Jim Scholten and drummer Joe Smyth.
The Nashville based band warming up the stage before Sawyer Brown will be Resurrection: A Journey Tribute, a nationally known band performing nothing but hits from the classic rock band Journey.
Resurrection: A Journey Tribute will perform from 8 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Sporting a sound reminiscent of Journey’s former lead singer Steve Perry, Ryan Christopher, accompanied by his bandmates, will take the audience on a literal journey through the band’s classics.
This band, according to Norris, is for those enjoying classic rock as well as those who appreciate the classic rock band Journey.
“They are going to be phenomenal,” Norris stated. “You will know it, when you hear it and believe it when you see it.
“Good music is good music, and it doesn’t matter what genre it is,” Norris continued. “Good music stands the test of time, and this music has stood the test of time.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am we got these guys.”
Resurrection: A Journey Tribute, considered to be the Gold Standard by which all Journey tributes are measured, faithfully recreates the experience of a 1980s Journey concert.
This dynamic and compelling band has featured some of Nashville’s hottest musicians, many whom who have performed, written or recorded with the biggest names in the music industry - including Journey and Steve Perry.
Every show is a brilliant reproduction of sights and sounds that captivate and transport audiences to the glorious age of arena rock.
Resurrection: A Journey Tribute continues to garner worldwide attention and acclaim with high profile performances including, Royal Caribbean International cruises, Fraze Pavilion, AT&T Park: Home of the San Francisco Giants, US Cellular Field, Home of the Chicago White Sox and Hard Rock Casino and Hotel.
Fans across the country, including Steve Perry and Journey purists, rave that Resurrection: A Journey Tribute is THE Journey experience.
Before Resurrection: A Journey Tribute takes the stage, focus of the bands will have shifted from international to regional with the Georgia Thunderbolts, which performed in 2018, at the 9-1-1 festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first emergency 9-1-1 call made in Haleyville.
Those who enjoy southern rock will enjoy the Georgia Thunderbolts, which will perform 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
The magnolias, cotton and peaches in the towns of Rome and Taylorsville, Georgia, have provided the perfect scenario for the Georgia Thunderbolts to dream and create their own unique style of music surrounded by the same environment that spawned Georgia greats James Brown, Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers band.
The first act to perform that night is the Taylor Nix Band, formerly known as First Born Sons. This band is more local, being from Hamilton, with their blend of country and southern rock, Norris said.
Taylor Nix Band will be the first to perform at the main stage Friday, June 5, from 5:30 - 6:15 p.m.
“I have always supported local music and they are a bunch of good guys out of the Hamilton area, that my daughter and I went and watched,” Norris noted. “We watched them at Mayfest (a regional festival) a year or so ago, and thought they were really great.
“We thought they would be a really good opening act for the 9-1-1 Festival,” Norris added.
The Taylor Nix Band consists of four individuals, including cousins Taylor Emerson and Cody Bass as well as brothers Colby and Conner Nix.
Formed in 2014 under the name First Born Sons, the group has performed at local and area festivals including Mule Day, May Fest, Neighbor Day and Watermelon Fest.
Members include Colby Nix on lead vocals, Connor Nix on bass, Cody Bass on lead guitar and Taylor Emerson on drums.
After the headline act Sawyer Brown, which will begin performing around 9:30 p.m., the party isn’t over, as the crowd is welcome to go to the vacant lot across from Dixie Den on Main Street for the lively show of the Hamilton based band Handshake Promise, starting at 11:15 p.m.
This marks the return of Handshake Promise to the stage, as they have performed in past 9-1-1 festivals from the main stage, Norris indicated.
The after-party will rock with a blend of 1980s hits as well as current hits from a very versatile band.
“They are perfect for the after-party,” Norris said.
Norris reminded the public these bands are kicking off a festival celebrating 52 years of emergency 9-1-1 calls in the nation, which all began with that first call made in Haleyville on Feb. 16, 1968.
“It’s so important that we don’t need to get that fact lost in this, is to celebrate our first responders and everything that they do, and the sacrifice they go through, so that we can all sleep a little bit better at night,” Norris continued. “This is a celebration for the services they provide for us.”
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.