I'm a recent convert to Sister Hazel. Their 2009 album 'Release' was a cracker. Their front-man, singer and guitarist, Ken Block is a massive talent in his own right too. His 2008 solo album 'Drift' is chock full of simple joys. Please hear it!
New album 'Heartland Highway' doesn't break any new ground truth-be-told so if you're looking for novelty and innovation you will probably need to look elsewhere. If, however, you appreciate uncluttered and unpretentious song writing then you will find much to love in Sister Hazel's rock-solid craft.
The beats are four-square; the melodies unforced and catchy; the harmonies spot-on. Mr Block has a distinctive and appealing voice. The band sound like they belong together and like each other. In my books this all adds up to a damned good listen!
There are a dozen tracks in the collection the last three of which form a thematic suite of sorts. 'Lessons In Love, Hope and Faith - Part 1 The Road ( & Part 2 Snow Globe World & Part 3 Behind The Sun)' is one of their most ambitious compositions to date. The relationship between the parts isn't obvious to me (mea culpa!) but it really doesn't matter at all. Separately and/or together these are fine songs whatever their rhyme and reason for being! 'Snow Globe World' is particularly lovely.
Elsewhere 'The Saddest Song' deserves especial scrutiny and applause. Mr Block is clearly singing from the heart and the results have an affecting ring of truth about them.
On the upbeat side of the road I particularly enjoyed 'Where You're Going' which rocks and rolls its way along with simple unabashed glee and guts in equal measure.
Sister Hazel aren't trying to change the world but they certainly make it a better place!
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