July 27, 2000


By MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

Henry Paul may not have a sense of where he is geographically at times, but when it comes to his career, he knows exactly what's gotten him there.


"I don't know where I am. We go to bed on our bus and wake up where we are," said the lead vocalist for the country band BlackHawk. He estimated he was 150 miles in some direction from Minneapolis, where he and fellow band members arrived from a concert the day before at a casino on a Chippewa Indian reservation in Michigan.

The group was going to be in the Midwest for the next week. From there, he said it will perform on weekends through the end of the year, including a stop Saturday, Aug. 5, at Rocky Gap Music Festival in Cumberland, Md.

"I think my work ethic is sort of the secret of longevity," said Paul, 50. He also has a strong love for writing and playing music, and has always believed in his abilities.


Paul said he comes from an artistic bloodline, which it seems he has passed on to his 16-year-old son, Henry.

"He's his dad's son in every sense of the word," Paul said of the younger Henry, who is traveling with BlackHawk this summer.

He also has two daughters, Lorraine, 22, and Victoria, 20.

Paul and some friends formed a country rock group called Sienna in the early 1970s in Florida, a forerunner to his other groups, The Outlaws and Henry Paul Band.

In 1974, The Outlaws started touring, opening for big names such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, which helped Paul get noticed.

"It's not like a star falling out of the sky. It's more like a course that's a collision," said Paul, describing his rise to fame.

Paul recorded several hits with The Outlaws, including "There Goes Another Love Song" and "Knoxville Girl" before moving on to Henry Paul Band. With that band, he recorded four albums, including "Grey Ghost" and "Feel the Heat."

BlackHawk came together seven years ago with Paul, Dave Robbins and Van Stephenson serving as the core group. Their first release, "Goodbye Says It All," was a big hit, and their debut album sold 2 million copies.

The group now boasts five albums and nine Top 10 singles.

"We seem to know who we are and what we want," Paul said in a telephone interview.

Last year, the band went through a major transition when Stephenson, who played guitar and sang, left the group after a yearlong battle with melanoma. The members decided to go on without Stephenson, who contributed vocally and artistically to their greatest hits album, released in May.

"We started turning to our friends within the group for help," Paul said.

Those friends included Robbins, on harmony vocals and keyboards, and fellow members Dale Oliver, guitar; Randy Threet, bass; and drummer Mike Redousky, who joined the group two months ago.

Paul and Oliver have become producers, a role that will increase as the band works on new music.

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