Beyond The Music with Laura: Sister Hazel

by Laura Lou / 283 days ago / Comments

There are times in life when you can find yourself just strolling through each day, maybe forgetting to notice when something different happens. However, there are those days that you will always remember, as extraordinary.

Today, was extraordinary.

Let me explain.

In the entertainment industry, as a member of the media, things can stop surprising you.  Our expectations of how an interview will go or what an artist may talk about, tend to stay low, at times.  I think that this can happen when we become robotic with our questions and when we forget that each artist has a unique story to share.  It is our job to bring that part to you, the fan, because after all, without you, none of us would have a story to write about.

Today, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Sister Hazel while they were in Nashville to promote their newest EP, Water, which is set for release on February 9, 2018.  These seasoned artists have been dubbed “One of the Top 100 Most Influential Performers of the Last 15 Years” by Performing Songwriter Magazine, and if you are already a “Hazelnut” you knew that before the list was released.  However, for those of you that are not completely “nuts” yet, well now is your chance to find out what all the fuss is about.

Make sure you watch our interview, scratch the word “interview”, make sure you check out the conversation that I had with my new friends Andrew, Ken, Ryan, Mark, and Jett as we talk about everything from music, including songwriting and vocal performances, to misspelled (or not misspelled) words, substance abuse and recovery, childhood cancer and much more.  There were no off-limit topics and there were a lot of laughs with these amazingly talented and down-to-earth artists.

These guys are the real deal, which can be rare to find in any industry, especially entertainment.  The first thing I noticed about each of them, independently and collectively, was their ability to put me at ease as if they were just as curious to see what I was going to ask, as I was to see how they would answer.

To use a quote from SisterHazel.com, “For more than 20 years, these five friends have built the kind of musical communication that comes only with time, talent and commitment.”.  That is a powerful statement.  “Musical Communication” is exactly what these guys give all of us.  It is not just one album, one performance or one fan event that gives them this reputation.  It is the time they put in, just as much now, as twenty years ago.  The involvement in not only the songwriting itself but the creation of the concept of each project, right down to the album cover art.

Watch as we talk about how they take great pride in not only the longevity of their career and staying close friends themselves, but how their fans have united with each other, creating a community, known as the Hazelnuts, formed with the band as the fertilizer, so to speak, in which to allow that to grow into what it is today.  There are events that are focused on the “nuts” such as The Rock Boat Cruise and the “Hazelnut Hang”.  They have several events throughout the year that focus on their fans, or as they call them, friends and family.

Sister Hazel, as mentioned, has a long history, with most people recognizing them from their second album titled, …Somewhere More Familiar, which was released in 1997, selling over thirty thousand copies with the initial pressing, resulting in their first major record label deal with Universal Records.  The success of a single from this album, “All for You”, hit number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and began the journey of a lifetime for these five friends from Gainesville, Florida.

They continued to release a total of 12 albums, under the genre of alternative rock, until 2016 with the release of Lighter in The Dark, lucky number thirteen, released as their first country album, featuring a guest appearance by Darius Rucker on the lead single, “We Got It All Tonight” and “Karaoke Song”.

The new EP, Water, is the band’s second country release, however, there are some unique differences with this project than any others in the past.  Typically, a band will release an EP, with a small collection of songs, usually 5 or 6, following it up with a longer version, or “full album”, containing 12 to 14 songs.  That album will be promoted and singles continue to be released, leaving the fans without “new” music for years.

Watch our conversation as the guys discuss how this project veers from the norm in a way that allows them to offer up new music about every six months.  On each segment of this project, there are surprises and bonus offerings, all coming full-circle by the time the final segment is complete.  The band has taken on a task to bring the fans an experience, not just an album.

There is something here for everyone.  From the lead single, “Roll on Bye”, which features a fun, upbeat message of going through the tough times but not holding onto them or letting them define you; to the heart-wrenching, yet hope-inspiring message in “You Won’t See Me Again”, written by Copeland, with Block delivering soul-engulfing vocals, wherein the topic of addiction and sobriety are addressed head-on.  The powerful and intentional lyrics will make you sit up and take notice from the first line.

There are no blurred lines here.  This is a hard-hitting album that does exactly what it was meant to do, make you think, make you hopeful, make you feel something, all while smiling and remembering that life is a journey to enjoy.  It is difficult at times, for artists to bring one or two of these to an album.  It is an anomaly for artists to bring you “all of the above” in an EP and yet, Sister Hazel does exactly that.

Make sure you get your copy of Water, set to release February 9th and make sure to follow the guys on all social media platforms.  Be sure to check their website for all information on where you can see them live and get those tickets.  You will thank me later.

 

Follow Sister Hazel  

Sister Hazel Tour Dates

11/15/2018 : St. Pete Beach BikeFest: Saint Petersburg, FL
11/16/2018 : Southwest Florida Event Center: Bonita Springs, FL
11/17/2018 : Kingsland Catfish Festival: Kingsland, GA
11/29/2018 : Iron City: Birmingham, AL
11/30/2018 : Minglewood Hall: Memphis, TN
12/14/2018 : SOLD OUT - The Holiday Hang Chicago: Chicago, IL
12/15/2018 : The Holiday Hang Chicago - House Of Blues: Chicago, IL
12/16/2018 : The Holiday Hang Chicago - Brunch + "Holiday & Hazel Favo ... : Chicago, IL
01/18/2019 : Rock Crusher Canyon Pavilion: Crystal River, FL
02/01/2019 : The Rock Boat: Tampa, FL
04/13/2019 : Depot District Music Fest: Lexington, NC

About Laura Lou

Laura Lou Journalist

Beginning about age 13, music always been my “safe place”, my “escape”, it became a part of who I am. My background includes being a photographer/journalist for newspapers, magazines and radio stations and more recently I have been an artist manager. What I continue to strive to learn is, what is important to the fans/readers? I find that the answer is always that they want to feel close to the artist they are supporting. The human contact that we all need is something that I want to deliver to anyone that happens to read something I write or see a photograph I shoot. It is important to me to provide that experience, because I am, after all, still always a “fan” and that giddy 13-year-old girl is simply amazed! I never imagined that my passion and love for music would lead me where I am today! I use the hashtag #iamtheluckiestgirliknow because I cannot believe how blessed I am! I’m excited to see “what happens next” and take you all along with me! This is going to be amazing…