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Rock n World's Spot Lite Artist of the Month Nov. 1998

Wanted:  Creative, open minded, positive, hard working  musicians!
This 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: 
Sister 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. 

The 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. 

Sister Hazel the Band:


Click for full size 


Ken Block
Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar 

Ken 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.

Ken 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. 

Andrew Copeland
Acoustic Guitar, Vocals

Andrew 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.

Click for full size 


Click for full size 


Jeff Beres 
Bass Guitar, Vocals

Jeff 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. 

Like 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.


Ryan Newell
Lead Guitar, Vocals

Originally 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.

Click for full size 



Mark Trojanowski 

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.


Two Great Albums from Sister Hazel
Sister Hazel 
Universal Records - 1996
Somewhere More Familiar
Universal Records - 1997

Both CD's are now on sale at CD Universe


Somewhere More Familiar 
"Somewhere 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.

Put To The Test
The 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.

Click Here To View Sister Hazel Merchandise

For more information about Sister Hazel, visit their web site at:

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