We’re off to Daytona, we’re packed in tight
My kids and their friends and my smokin’ hot wife
I got my toes in the sand, an ice tea in my hand
And I’m livin’ out the fantasy life
I look out at the ocean and yell for more lotion
From my chair at the beach by my smokin’ hot wife
— from the Sawyer Brown song, “Smokin’ Hot Wife”
That’s the song that two former Apopka High School buddies will be singing next month for their friends, family and fans at a concert on the campus of Stetson University. Steven “Hobie” Hubbard and his high school classmate Mark Miller formed the country band Sawyer Brown after leaving Apopka for Nashville in the early 1980s, but they still enjoy trips back to their Central Florida roots.
It’s pretty amazing how this popular country band came together. Hobie was working at the Apopka Pizza Hut when Miller dropped by one day, said that he had written some songs, and asked Hobie to accompany him on the piano. That informal musical relationship followed them to college at the University of Central Florida, and then off to Nashville to seek fame and fortune.
First Star Search Winners
The new band called Sawyer Brown got their first Nashville gig at a new club called the Knights Corral, which had its grand opening in a converted grocery store. It was a big place, something like Gilley’s in the movie Urban Cowboy. Unfortunately it closed after just three weeks.
But that didn’t slow down the boys from Apopka. A new TV show called Star Search was about to launch and they figured that a video of their audition would be a good promo. But they surprised a lot of people – including themselves — by taking first place in the show’s first season. 30-some years later they have earned the title of “longest uninterrupted run of a country music band.”
Keyboarder Hobie says that Sawyer Brown has “kept our Apopka roots – parents, schools, great friends – a reflection of the working class environment we came from. Apopka is known as the ‘Foliage Capital of the World,’ an agricultural town that once had orange groves everywhere. The people work the land very hard.”
Country singer John Anderson got his start in Apopka too. His sisters were Hobie’s babysitters. “He was very helpful to us, giving us some very beneficial and helpful advice.”
The band’s newest album, “Travelin’ Band,” already boasts a hit single, “Smokin’ Hot Wife,” which recalls a favorite pastime of the boys, “heading off to Daytona.” Hobie says that it’s still a big deal to go to the beach.
December 10 Concert
In addition to Mark Miller and Hobie Hubbard, Sawyer Brown is made up of Shayne Allen Hill on lead guitar, James Thomas Scholten on bass, and Joseph Smyth II on the drums.
The concert will be played at the Stetson U Edmunds Center on Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 8 pm. The annual Hatter Hoedown BBQ and Beverage Festival precedes the concert, from 6 to 8 pm. Reserved-seat tickets start at $15 and parking is free. Call 386-822-8110 or go online to GoHatters.com for more information.
Hobie and the band are especially looking forward to this concert, a rare opportunity to see family and friends in a familiar environment. “I remember seeing Steve Martin in this auditorium when I was a high school senior. We still have a lot of friends in the area, and the relationships are the same, although some of us need reading glasses now.”
Watch the video for the latest Sawyer Brown Hit, “Smokin’ Hot Wife.”