n World's Spot Lite Artist of the Month Nov. 1998
Creative, open minded, positive, hard working musicians!
is not your average garage band that made good. Sister Hazel is comprised
of five musicians who, it appears, were on their way to somewhere else
when they met and formed the band. Based out of Gainsville,
Florida, they were earning, or had earned college degrees or graduate degrees
when founder Ken Block put up a flyer looking for "creative, open minded,
positive, hard working people that wanted to dedicate themselves to a project."
Already working with band member Andrew Copeland in a duo called "Ken &
Andrew," three new members were added. Lead guitarist Ryan Newell
anchors the band's folksy acoustic sound with solid, soulful, southern
rock riffs. The rhythmic qualities of Sister Hazel's music are provided
by base guitarist Jeff Beres and drummer Mark Trojanowski. The groove
of Jeff's base lines are a natural fit and Mark is an outstanding drummer
with a clean, crisp delivery. They come together like threads of
color that form a beautiful tapestry of music. All in synch, all
in the same groove.
The Real Sister Hazel:
Hazel was a social activist in Florida during the 70's and 80's. She worked
tirelessly in the fight to aid the homeless. Her work included the "Sister
Hazel Rescue Mission", a facility in Gainsville which provided a haven
for individuals who under unfortunate circumstances found themselves without
a home. An African American, Sister Hazel, reached across racial and religious
barriers to help anyone who was in need of her special care.
members of Sister Hazel the band care deeply about many social issues,
therefor the choice of name was as apt tribute to the real Sister Hazel
as well as a reflection of the band members involvement in social concerns.
Hazel the Band:
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Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
has been influenced by more people than you can imagine. Not only by the
inspiring artists of yesterday and today, but also by his family, whom
he describes as "amazingly kind and creative people", as well as anyone
he's ever jammed with or admired. He has been singing since
he could talk, playing guitar since he was 12, and playing on stage since
he was 14.
is the founder of popular duo Ken & Andrew. He writes about acceptance,
mindless fun, confusion and "making sense of all the craziness that happens
between birth and death." He has his Masters degree in Counseling Psychology,
and dreams of being an honorary "Indigo Guy" or of writing a song with
Michael Stipe or the Eagles. Ken supports Pet Rescue, Big Brothers and
Big Sisters, and doesn't eat anything with feathers or fur.
takes his cues from the likes of James Taylor, the Eagles, the Indigo Girls,
and Sting. He writes about real things, both good and bad, that affect
his life. He plays in the duo Ken & Andrew, and provides pure, rich
vocal accompaniment to Sister Hazel. He loves to travel, experience new
things, and meeting new people out on the road.
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started playing bass when he was 12, and his earliest influence was John
Taylor from Duran Duran. Born in Indianapolis, Jeff grew up on the shores
of West Palm Beach in Florida. He taught himself the bass, and played his
first show in the 6th grade at a talent show.
the rest of the band, Jeff’s first priority was education. He has already
earned a degree in English, and is working on a masters degree in architecture,
although currently he is “on sabbatical.” (Please note the extreme sarcasm.)
While at UF, Jeff played with Waterdog, Riverstreet, and the ChewToys.
from Fairfax, Virginia, Ryan has lived in Florida for some time now. Ryan
graduated with a degree in Accounting at the University of Florida, and
studied guitar theory at the prestigious North Texas State School of Music.
While at the University of Florida, Ryan played with Waterdog, and Funk
Attack, featuring members of What It Is, and regional favorites BlackCreek.
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From New York, Mark studied
at the prestigious North Texas State School of Music, and played in its
world renowned lab bands. Mark’s reputation as a supreme pocket drummer
did not come by chance, but through a love of the instrument tempered by
a high discipline for working at his craft. Mark has played in all types
of bands and combos, including world music, jazz and big band. His extensive
knowledge of the more technically demanding musical genres has allowed
him to bring the art of “rock” drumming to a new, and very tasty level.
Great Albums from Sister Hazel
CD's are now on sale at CD Universe
More Familiar" (Universal Records) is Sister Hazel's second effort, their
first being their self titled indie. Their sound has been described
as everything from southern rock to bluesy pop. The combination
acoustic/electric sound of their music is the equivalent of eating chocolate
cake for breakfast - its fun, its energizing, and it wakes up your senses.
This collection of songs mixes upbeat pop/rock tunes with straight form
the heart ballads, including the soulful blues ballad "Wanted It To Be."
The band's chemistry is apparent, weaving through their music and coming
out in their four part harmonies.
To The Test
first exposure I had to Sister Hazel's music was when I heard their first
single from "Somewhere More Familiar", "All For You." The distinctive
voice of lead singer Ken Block, the melodic verses and gotta-sing-along
chorus of the tune made me stop what I was doing and have a closer listen.
I must admit, after familiarizing myself with the band's music, I attributed
some of the underlying "chemistry" I heard to recording studio mixers and
engineers. Anxious to prove myself wrong, I caught up to the band
on tour in September and took in a live performance. Would I witness
that certain something I heard on the CD, or was it all the work of a clever
recording studio technician? Happy to say that I was carried off
on a wave of natural lithium. I am a firm believer that really good
music must make you feel something. If it makes your heart light,
your tears flow, or if you just have to throw your head back and close
your eyes to submerge yourself and drink it all in - its good music.
I was not disappointed . . .
Sister Hazel has
just completed a tour with the Allman Brothers and will be taking a short
break. They will begin work shortly on their new CD, scheduled for
a 1999 release through Universal Records.
Here To View Sister Hazel Merchandise
more information about Sister Hazel, visit their web site at: