(Rock Ridge Music)
When my buddy Scott first introduced me to this new band that he was into several years ago, I was immediately taken by their tight harmonies, catchy pop riffs and great lyrics. The Gainesville, Florida band was Florida’s version of our own South Carolina band Hootie and the Blowfish. They were playing feel good music and just humping it on down the rock and roll highway, building a huge following.
After I attended one of their shows I was a fan for life. These guys are like a family with one another. They are not only excellent musicians, they also have a great time onstage and off. And after meeting Ken Block and the guys, I felt even more strongly about their music.
Sister Hazel’s new budget priced album Release features twelve new songs, written or co-written by all the band members, including co-writes with people such as Pat McGee and Stan Lynch (Tom Petty). Sixteen years and seven studio albums into their career, these Florida boys show no signs whatsoever of slowing up.
The first single, "Take A Bow," is a song written about the divorce of guitarist Ryan Newell. The tune was co-written by Pat McGee (Pat McGee Band) and Michael Daly (Whiskeytown) at a songwriting retreat in 2008. It is an emotion packed song set to a soaring melody and great harmony vocals.
The album is more of that trademark Hazel sound, with Ken Block’s distinctive voice rising over the ultra-tight music bed on each track. The guys have not tried to latch onto the next latest trend, instead choosing to do what they do the way they have always done it, in an acoustic based sound that falls somewhere between the aforementioned Hootie and Canadian pop stars Barenaked Ladies. They refuse to go “Nashville pop” or switch over to the latest trendy rock sound and there is a lot to be said for that identity preservation. With an impressive fan base, a never ending supply of new songs, and a great new Release, Sister Hazel is destined to be around for a long time to come.
-Michael Buffalo Smith