Sawyer Brown‘s Mark Miller gets teary-eyed when performing “The Walk” at concerts. The tune is both powerful and personal for the singer. Miller discussed on Outsider’s “The Road You Leave Behind with Marty Smith” why the song makes him an emotional wreck.
“The dads will stand up with their sons. I’m up there and we’re trying to play this song,” Miller told host Marty Smith. “And they will just stand up and they have their arm around their dad, and they brought them to the show. They said, ‘You’re the only band that me and my dad likes together.'”
The song first appeared on the band’s 1992 album “Buick, ” before making a repeat appearance on their follow-up album “Dirt Road.” Upon release, the song was massively popular, showcasing a tender and thoughtful side to the band that hadn’t been seen before.
Mark Miller Was Inspired By His Grandfather
But if it was left up to Mark Miller, the tune might have never seen the light of day. Miller’s grandfather inspired the tune and its message. His grandfather raised him after his father passed away and was one of his biggest fans.
“The motivation – not having a dad, my grandfather became my father figure,” Miller said. “No one was more proud when we started having hit records. He had to have his own tour jacket. Any place we went, he knew he could go. His health deteriorated, and I was losing him. That song came out of that experience.”
Becoming a father himself also influenced the song as well.
“I was getting ready to have my first child,” Miller said. “It was really truly the first song I had written that I had experienced all of it. Every verse of that.”
Miller Almost Didn’t Record the Song
Miller decided not to include the song on an album because it was too personal for him. But his bandmates made him reconsider, and he included the tune on “Buick.” Still, he refused to include it as a single. At the time, the band was in a feud with radio stations, who refused to play all but their biggest hits.
“The reason was I was probably so upset at the time, I wasn’t going to give them a chance to tell me my song wasn’t good,” Miller said. “I would have gone all redneck up on somebody.”
But listeners loved the tune on the album. Miller’s brother talked him into including the song on the follow-up album as a single. Miller agreed on the condition that they promote the song heavily. In total, Miller spent around $500,000 of his own money.
But it all paid off, and the song became a smash success. For more of the podcast with Miller and other artists, click here.