The Mountain Times

°F Thu, April 24, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Rockin’ the Region with Sister Hazel



Over in White River Junction, there is a great music venue by the name of Tupelo Music Hall. This Saturday night make sure you get there for an intimate acoustic evening with Sister Hazel. The band hails from Gainsville, Florida but has been rocking the Country since 1993. They named themselves after Sister Hazel Williams, a local [Missionary] who ran a homeless shelter. They're classified as an alternative rock band but their style blends elements of folk rock, pop, classic rock 'n' roll and southern rock.
Sister Hazel's second album, Somewhere More Familiar, is what got them signed by Universal Records. "All for You," a single from that album, reached #11 on the Billboard Top 100 and is their most successful hit and most recognized song. All their music is highly melodic with prominent harmonies and they try to keep the lyrics optimistic. The band has released 11 studio albums to date and has music featured in several movies and soundtracks including Major League: Back to the Minors, The Wedding Planner, Clay Pigeons, Bedazzled, and 10 Things I Hate About You. Sister Hazel also appears on the Fleetwood Mac tribute album, Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours with their cover version of "Gold Dust Woman." They also had a song on the TV show, Scrubs.
The reason they have been together for so long is that they have built a solid foundation with all their original members still intact. Sister Hazel is comprised of 5 talented, seasoned musicians who love playing together. Performing Songwriter Magazine has called them, "One of the Top 100 Most Influential Independent Performers of the last 15 years." They have built their career success and national name recognition through their chart-topping hits, countless national media appearances, relentless touring and all those albums. Additionally, true to its innovative spirit, Sister Hazel is responsible for the creation of two annual events that serve as their own personal 'fan fest' opportunities, both of which offer them an unprecedented chance to commune with their dedicated followers who have dubbed themselves "The Hazelnuts". Their unbreakable bond with fans is demonstrated annually at their innovative 'Rock Boat' excursion, the world's largest floating music festival. Pioneers in the 'full-on fan experience,' Sister Hazel has been hosting their own cruise ship fan party for more than a decade, introducing their followers to developing talent at the same time they are spending quality time and having fun with their captive audience. The Kenny Mehler Band who appears regularly at the K1 Base Lodge was fortunate to play on last year's cruise. Sister Hazel's upcoming "Rock Boat XIV: The World's Greatest Floating Music Festival" will set sail Feb. 22 - 26, 2014. The second 'fan-centric' event is better known as The Hazelnut Hang, which takes place annually at The Windjammer on South Carolina's Isle of Palms and will take place in June 2014. Aside from these up-close-and-personal fan encounters, Sister Hazel has been equally attentive to connecting with their audience through social media. Their Twitter followers are nearing the one million mark and last year, they did several interactive web-based events.
The band prides itself on their charitable work and encourages fellow musicians to do the same. The band itself is named after a now-famous nun from the Gainesville area who has dedicated her life to making a difference in the lives of her fellow humans. Sister Hazel the band is true to their namesake, having taken on two major charitable projects with Feed The Children and Lyrics For Life. Lyrics For Life is a charity founded by singer Ken Block as a memorial for his younger brother, Jeffrey. It unites musicians and celebrities for concerts and auctions to benefit cancer research and patient-care charities. Through Feed the Children, the band adopted the community of Los Laureles, Honduras and is currently working towards raising the funds to build a new feeding center for the families of Los Laureles.
After all their years together, the band is feeling like they're reaching new milestones with their latest album "Heartland Highway." "We are all in groove. We have all things rolling along and we feel like we are stepping into our heyday."