Boots and cowboy hats filled the North Central Washington Fair grandstands Friday, Aug. 24, as the iconic 1990s country music group BlackHawk performed as this year’s headline act.

Throughout the nearly two-hour show, the band brought a mix of their hits from the early ‘90s, including “Every Once in A While,” “I Sure Can Smell the Rain,” “Down in Flames,” “That’s Just About Right,” “I’m Not Strong Enough to Say No,” “Like There Ain’t No Yesterday” and “There You Have It.”

The group also performed several other songs including “Goodbye Says it All,” “Love Like This,” “Let ‘Em Whirl,” “Between Ragged and Wrong,” “Almost a Memory Now,” “One More Heartache, “Wichita,” “Kind of the World,” and “Cast Iron Heart.” 

Lead vocalist Henry Paul thanked the crowd for attending the show and noted the beauty of north-central Washington.

Paul was quick to point out the “scary” ride the band and crew took on their tour bus through Pine Canyon (between Orondo and Waterville) en route for the show, as the road is very windy.

Paul brought this signature, unmistakable vocals and mandolin licks, a key staple to the iconic BlackHawk sound.

Keyboardist Dave Robbins brought a fantastic performance of the Restless Heart hit, “The Bluest Eyes in Texas,” which he and former BlackHawk band member Van Stephenson wrote.

Another special moment during the show was when the group paid tribute to Stephenson with “Ships of Heaven.”

Stephenson, who wrote and performed many of the group’s early hits, died in 2001.

While there were no major special effects and the band primarily stood in one spot on the stage throughout their performance, the real energy came from the powerful two, three and four-part vocal harmonies.

There were plenty of extra seats available at the show, but the smoke from nearby wildfires may have kept some folks from attending. If given the chance to see the group perform again I would definitely attend!

The next concert in the region will be Collin Raye at the Chelan County Fair.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7. For tickets and more info, see chelancountyfair.com.

Brock Hires is managing editor for The Chronicle. He can be reached at 509-826-1110 or via email at bhires@omakchronicle.com

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