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Drift

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Album Review

Drift, the debut solo album by Ken Block, is pretty much what might have been expected from the lead singer of Sister Hazel, that is, a collection of engaging pop/rock songs in which the singer/songwriter aspect is emphasized over group dynamics. Although the tracks are well performed by Block and a group of sidemen who include three of his compatriots in guest roles, this isn't band music. The arrangements usually boast a strong guitar hook, but they exist to support the lead vocal, which is way up in the mix — and even if the lead guitar takes a solo for a few bars in the middle of a track, it's the song, not the performance, that matters. With his slightly adenoidal tenor, Block is intent on presenting a self-effacing, sincere, and sometimes humorous persona making his way through the ups and downs of love and the other challenges of life, and doing so while never being far from a catchy chorus. In their commercial heyday, Sister Hazel (still a going concern) were very much in the pop/rock group tradition of such '90s peers as Counting Crows and Hootie & the Blowfish, and Block alone leans even more to the pop side, while suggesting the music of that era. "Completely Wasted," for example, his reflection on the behavior that brought on an intervention and landed him in rehab, is very reminiscent of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion," and there are times when the casual listener might imagine that a previously unknown Counting Crows disc is playing. That constitutes criticism only for those who don't like R.E.M. or Counting Crows (or, for that matter, Sister Hazel). For those who do, this album will be a welcome reminder that music can rock while still emphasizing melody and plainspoken words sung with conviction.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active:

Pop/rock singer/guitarist Ken Block began performing professionally at the age of 12. In 1993, he helped form the acoustic jangle pop band Sister Hazel in Gainesville, FL. The group's self-titled debut album, featuring numerous songs co-written by Block, was released independently in 1994, and then Sister Hazel signed to Universal Records, which released ...Somewhere More Familiar in 1997. The album went platinum, buoyed by the Top 20 success of the single "All for You," co-written by Block. Sister...
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Drift, Ken Block
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