"We're actually grateful our fans aren't going to let us get away with that," Hanner says. A second show at Jergel's
"We never dreamed we would sell out two shows. That blew us away," Corbin says.
It shouldn't have, given that the
"It was one of our first shows in
Their sound -- rock tinged in the tradition of Creedence Clearwater Revival -- struck a decided chord, eventually earning a deal with CBS Records.
"At one time, they were the best rock 'n' roll band in the
"Then they headed to
Their name changed from Gravel to the
En route to gold and platinum awards, eight of their songs became Top 5 singles on the country charts, with the majority going to No. 1.
Country Music Hall-of-Famer
Corbin and Hanner's own nine albums include releases on Mercury/Polygram ("Black and White Photograph" and "Just Another Hill") and other national labels. Three of their own singles reached the Top 30 on the national country charts, and "Work Song," a nod to the blue-collar small town ethic of
Stars never aligned
"I have worked with a lot of artists over the years, and these guys are the real deal," says former
"No doubt about it that Bob and Dave could have performed their own material as artists in their own right (nationally) and been very successful," Paxton says. "There were many inside the music industry that respected and knew them very well."
The stars just never aligned properly, says their former manager
"They should have been big stars on their own. They both are fantastic songwriters with world-class songs, good singers with their own style and good guys that people like to hang out with," he says. "Some of their songs that weren't hits were even better songs."
"Scooter, Michael, Danny and Me," about growing up in
They were able to tell stories with their music, which is why their songs lend themselves to the country genre so well, says DJ
"The music business is tough, but they had talents that couldn't be denied. They have an incredible body of work," he says. "To me, their music is a mix of rock, blues, country and gospel."
Whenever they would perform on air in the Froggy studio, Mulder says he always knew he was witnessing something special. "They are special people that
Corbin and Hanner are philosophical about how their career has gone.
"You can always wish you were more successful, or that we had gotten big, but, in the end, everything worked out OK," Corbin says. "We've been fortunate to have always been able to write songs and sing them and have people respond, for the most part, favorably. You can't ask for more than that. We told people's stories in our songs."
Hanner tips his hat to those who do make it to the top in music.
"It is hard, like running for office. You have to wake up daily thinking about how to further your career," he says. "Bob and I were happy to write songs and go sing them. When it came to self-promotion, we sort of hoped the phone wouldn't ring. Pretty early on, we realized it was mainly about the music and the songs. So, we just did our best and kept our fingers crossed, and if anything else good happened, it was a bonus."
"Gravel was the
Grushecky worked and wrote with Corbin on Grushecky's 1990 "Swimming With the Sharks" album for Rounder Records, which Corbin produced and which was nominated for album of the year in the
Time is right
Corbin and Hanner say the time is right to pursue other paths.
Corbin and his wife, Edana, fell in love with the laidback lifestyle in
"I might try writing fiction or get into something completely different. We will see where the journey takes me," Corbin says. "I don't think I will stop writing songs. Beyond that, who knows?"
Hanner is happy for his friend of almost 50 years.
"I have great pleasure thinking of Bob down in
Hanner already has begun his new adventures, traveling, skiing and finally allowing himself enough time to concentrate on songwriting without being sidetracked by other projects, such as the tunes he penned for commercials and various work-for-hire efforts in his home studio.
Closing the chapter on the
"It's hard to put into words how grateful we feel for the support we've gotten in
"In the end, all we have is memories," Corbin says, "and I will always have wonderful ones."
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