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Fortress

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Album Review

Sister Hazel was fortunate that their debut album arrived precisely at the right time, just when radio was cooling to Hootie & the Blowfish but still needed journeymen bar bands that turned out sturdy mainstream rock & roll, the kind of music that was the '90s version of heartland rock. They scored a major hit and toured the hell out of the record, building a respectable success. Still, when their second album, Fortress, appeared in the summer of 2000, they still had something to prove. Like a lot of their peers — such post-ironic, post-Hootie artists as Matchbox Twenty, Tonic, Cowboy Mouth, and Edwin McCain — they had to prove that they could deliver another solid record that would retain their audience. The dilemma of the working band, as it were. This is a dilemma that was particularly difficult in the late '90s/early 2000s since working bands were considerably less than hip and didn't have album rock as an outlet the way working bands did in the '70s. Sister Hazel realizes this and they even give a shout-out to their working-band comrades in their special thanks. It's likely that they connect so strongly with the working band because they are the definition of one for their era. They are a solid band, turning out sturdy albums that may have a couple of stumbles, yet it's always satisfyingly straightforward. With Fortress, Sister Hazel does take a couple of tentative steps to distinguish themselves from the pack — a neo-psychedelic arrangement there, Beatlesque horns here, ambitious song structures every few tracks — but they remain a working band at their core. That means that they're hardly cool in 2000, but they do deliver a follow-up that delivers on the sound of their hit, even if it never quite successfully expands that signature sound. And that's a trademark of a working band, too.

Customer Reviews

I'm "high" on Sister Hazel!

You see, what I did there was a little play on words. Let me explain: I totally love the song "Champagne High," not only because the melody is outstanding, but also because it has guest vocals from Emily Sailers, the ever talented half of the Indigo Girls. Thus, because the song has the word 'high' in its title, I took that and put it in my own title, describing my feelings for this band. It's an advanced concept, yes, but I feel that if you own it, and don't let it own you, all things will work for the common good. But not socialism. They tried it in Italy back in the day and we all saw how that worked out.

THIS BAND ROCKS

I love these guys, especially the guitar. In every song, thr guitar is way awesome. These guys rock!! And my favorite song by them would have to be All For You (Full Band Version).

I LOVE THEM TOO MUCH

I reccommend the whole cd but if you don't want to but the whole thing(which it isnt much- only 5.99!!) i suggest you but Change Your Mind--that song is AMAZING!!! <3

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Gainesville, FL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Combining elements of acoustic rock, folk, and jangle pop, Sister Hazel formed in 1993 in Gainesville, FL. The band's five members all boasted ties to the city's local scene; vocalist/guitarist Ken Block and guitarist/vocalist Andrew Copeland canvassed the coffee shop circuit as a duo, lead guitarist Ryan Newell honed his chops with the local band Waterdog, bassist Jett Beres studied his instrument while pursuing a degree in architecture, and drummer Mark Trojanowski played with several Florida-based...
Full Bio
Fortress, Sister Hazel
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