Doug Supernaw has risen from the ashes.
Out of the country music spotlight for more than two decades, the Texas native with strong local ties has rekindled the flame of his once blazing hardcore honky-tonk career and the movers and shakers in Nashville are taking notice.
Supernaw released a “Greatest Hits” album on April 1, which includes new recordings of powerhouse tunes like “Red And The Rio Grande” and “Not Enough Hours In The Night,” plus chart topping singles “Reno” and “I Don't Call Him Daddy.”
The new record also includes a pair of original songs, including current single “The Company I Keep.”
Supernaw will be in concert at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Entertainment Barn at the Williamson County Fair, which started in 1857 and is the longest continuously operating county fair in Illinois.
General admission to the event is free. There are a limited number of $25 VIP seats available, which include a meet-and-greet with the headliner.
Teenage phenomenon Riley Kirk of DuQuoin and rising Nashville star Melissa Lee will serve as opening acts.
“Southern Illinois is where I spent Christmas and summers when I was growing up,” Supernaw said during a telephone interview earlier this week from his home in Livingston, Texas. “It was like a second home to me. I love it there.”
During Supernaw's 90-minute set in Marion, he will be backed by a seasoned band that includes former Sawyer Brown member Bobby Randall on steel guitar and highly-touted fiddler Rylan Fowler, plus two members of Tim McGraw's Dance Hall Doctors band.
With a pair of act-breaking hits on his resume, Supernaw was at the height of his career in 1994 when he played for a huge crowd gathered at the old Johnston City football field. He wasn't paid for the concert. Instead, he was given the two 25-foot Gothic columns that adorned the front entrance of the old high school, which was being demolished and replaced with a completely new structure.
The massive pillars were of tremendous sentimental value to Supernaw. His mother, Rosanne Tyner, grew up a couple miles north of the school and graduated from JCHS in the mid-1950s. She spent most of life in Texas raising her family, but had moved back to her hometown before she passed away in 2007.
In her obituary, in lieu of flowers, there was a request to make donations to the Houston Junior Golf Association, an organization important to the childhood development of her singing son.
“I always thought I was going to be a professional golfer,” Supernaw says. “I earned a golf scholarship to the University of St. Thomas in Houston and played on the mini tour for a few years, trying to grind it out. I played well in a few tournaments, but I never could get over the hump and take it to the next level.”
The 56-year-old worked on an oil rig and played in Houston area bands, before he migrated to Nashville in 1987 and quickly landed a songwriting contract. After four years, he moved back to the Lone Star State and formed the regionally successful band Texas Steel.
With his skill set as a songwriter, lead singer and bandleader sharpened from priceless experience navigating the brutal Texas club circuit, Supernaw launched his second assault on Music City and was quickly signed to RCA Records in 1993.
Supernaw sent five singles into the Billboard Top 40 from 1993-96. While his time at the top was relatively brief, his solid traditional vocal style — which was greatly influenced by Gene Watson and George Jones — made a lasting impression on the industry.
Supernaw was admitted to the Texas Country Music Music Hall of Fame in 2016, joining an elite club that includes Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills, Tanya Tucker, Moe Bandy and Waylon Jennings.
As his name began to resurface in music circles, a perfectly timed album was released, which led to an invitation from the Country Music Association to appear at the 2017 Fanfest in June, where he shared the Budweiser Forever Country Stage with Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Lawrence, Lonestar, Billy Dean, Exile, Trick Pony and many others stars from the era.
“It was great to play on the big stage again, connect with the fans and renew some friendships with people that I hadn't seen in a long time,” Supernaw said.
The Supernaw comeback is definitely gaining momentum. He was just invited by the Country Music Hall of Fame to perform at a Ralph Stanley tribute later this year at the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music.
Local fans will get a second dose of Supernaw when he performs Sept. 16 at Eldorado's Town & Country Days.