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‘Travelin’ band’ Sawyer Brown to play Corn Palace Friday

Country music group Sawyer Brown will play at the Corn Palace in Mitchell on Friday. (Publicity image)

Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard remembers playing at the Corn Palace.

“You don’t forget that place,” he said with a chuckle. “I thought it was awesome.”

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Hubbard, keyboard player for country music band Sawyer Brown, said the venue should motivate the band to put its best foot forward.

“We’ve got to be as exciting as the corn murals,” he said, “so the pressure is on.”

Hubbard said he is sure he will try to snap a few fresh pictures of the building when he and the band come to town for their concert on Friday. Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling said he believes Sawyer Brown last played at the Palace in the early 1990s.

Sawyer Brown, with special guests Jimmy Weber and Ray Scott, will play the Corn Palace at 7 p.m. on Friday. General admission tickets are $25 for the main floor; seats in the raised section are available for $30. VIP tickets were also available for $40, but have sold out.

Schilling said about 1,100 tickets have been sold as of Wednesday evening. He considered those good numbers, but hoped to push sales up further, to 1,350-1,500.

“I think there’s a real good shot we can push this number another 300 tickets by Friday night,” he said.

Capacity for the show is about 2,000 tickets.

Jimmy Weber, a country artist from Omaha, Neb., who Schilling said is originally from Alexandria, will open the show. Weber might have other artists on stage with him, and then he’ll turn it over to Ray Scott. Schilling said the two might sing together before Scott goes solo. Then, it’s Sawyer Brown’s turn.

Sawyer Brown started in 1981, and has racked up numerous hits over the course of its nearly 33-year career, including “Step That Step,” “The Race is On,” “Some Girls Do” and “Six Days on the Road.”

The five-member group still has four of its original five members, which Hubbard attributed to keeping it simple and having fun.

“We’re actually really great friends, which probably helps a whole lot. We really believe in what we do together,” he said. “We sort of focus on paying attention to the stuff that matters, and not worrying too much about the stuff that doesn’t matter.”

The band is currently back in the studio, working on new material. The newest single, “Shadows of the Heartland” celebrates the “hard-workin’ folks” and blue-collar background many of the band members share and relate.

“It feels like that’s really the heart of who we are as people,” Hubbard said.

And, the band keeps busy touring. A 2011 album and single both titled “Travelin’ Band” describes the “long and winding road” of a touring musician.

“That song in particular is probably our life story in about four minutes,” Hubbard said.

Even though the band is working on new material, Hubbard said people can expect a lot of familiar songs from Friday’s concert.

“If I go to shows, I want to hear the stuff that I know,” Hubbard said. “Nothing clears the room faster than when you say ‘I’m going to play five songs you’ve never heard before.’ ”