Sawyer Brown's Gift from God

The band's newest song came from an unlikely source. But when Mark Miller heard it, he knew it was inspired by a higher power.

It was a pleasant off-day for Mark Miller, the founder and lead singer of

Sawyer Brown

. The band wasn't touring or recording. His only obligations were his family and his farm. So when he and his wife ventured out to Farrar Furniture in Nashville, he was as relaxed as a country music star can be in his hometown.



And then it happened.



"I'm a huge fan," Dean Chance, the store manager, told him. "And I write songs. And I'd kick myself if I didn't take this opportunity to tell you I've got a song I'd really like you to hear. If you'll listen to it, I know you'll like it."

Mark Miller has been given a lot of CDs over the years. Unlike many brand names in Nashville, he doesn't just toss them out. "I moved here as a songwriter," he says, "so out of respect I listen to a verse and a chorus."

Dean Chance led the Millers out to his car. He pulled a CD out of the floorboard, presented it to Miller, and the Millers drove away.

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"I have a Jeep, and the top was off, but I put the CD in," Miller recalls. "I can't hear all the words--I'm day dreaming--but I'm hearing enough. And I say to my wife, 'Is that as good as I think it is?' And I look over at her--and she was sobbing. I pulled into the Home Depot parking lot to hear it again. Now both of us are crying."

When the song ended, Lisa Miller said, "You've never been given a song this good. This is of God, you know that, don't you?"

Mark Miller did. There was only one problem: The CD was so weathered that the phone number on it was unclear. Miller didn't recall the name of the furniture store. And he was miles out of town at his farm. So he called a friend who worked at a Jeep dealership a few blocks from the store, and his friend went over and talked to the manager, and that is how, just a few hours after their first encounter, Mark Miller found himself talking to Dean Chance again.

Dean Chance was delighted--but not entirely surprised.

"When Mark walked out, I just knew," he told me. "I called my best friend and said, 'I think Sawyer Brown is going to record my song."

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