BIOGRAPHY – Van Wesley Stephenson (November 4, 1953 – April 8, 2001)
Van Stephenson was born in Hamilton, Ohio but his family relocated to Altoona, Pennsylvania, and eventually settled in Nashville when he was ten. Vanderbilt University was a source of pride for little Van. Van, the “middle” child in a family of seven kids, was involved in music from a young age. He learned to play clarinet, and then guitar, and he was soon jamming in various family bluegrass bands and garage bands.
Growing up in Nashville provided Van with unique experiences such as hanging out around the Ryman Auditorium and catching a glimpse of famous country stars. After graduating from college with a degree in divinity, Van made a signifigant career change to songwriting. He worked writing songs, and in 1979 met fellow BlackHawk member and best friend, Dave Robbins. The two began collaborating on songs soon after, and wrote songs cut by Kenny Rogers (“All My Life”), Dan Seals (“Everybody’s Dream Girl”), and many cuts for Restless Heart including the incredible “Back to the Heartbreak Kid”, and the smash number one, “Bluest Eyes In Texas”.
Van has also had songs cut by Reba McEntire, John Anderson, Eric Clapton, and Tim McGraw. Being a member of one of country music’s most progressive bands has allowed Van to do what he loves – sing, play, and write music. He sings lead vocal on the beautiful “If That Was A Lie” from BlackHawk’s Love and Gravity album, and on “Think Again” from the band’s new The Sky’s The Limit album, calling this song ‘the most country song I’ve ever sung in my life’. Van has had a hand in writting many of BlackHawk’s hits, including the band’s first number one, “Every Once In A While”, “Hole In My Heart”, and the top 5, “Almost A Memory Now.”