Heartland Highway by Sister Hazel (Rock Ridge Music)
Well received Release last year reached for the band its highest ever spot #37 on the Billboard Album Charts. This topped their platinum disc selling CD Somewhere More Familiar. Making the bands quickest ever turnaround album release, they are keeping the momentum going with Heartland Highway. The record is varied but yet organic in mixture. So listen to the whole thing through before making a decision on it.
Release sparked a cohesive creativity from these five members, each giving a single part of their own to a song they wanted on the record, for the full band from Gainesville, Florida. Heartland Highway is a collection that shows the bands diversity in its sound. Sister Hazel creates a vibe together that helps to make Sister Hazel signature mix of Southern pop hooks and country rock harmonies work.
Heartland Highway makes for Sister Hazel it’s 8th full release thus far. This time it reflects a journey for the listeners. Taking this on an American road trip or sitting back with it at a campfire would be the ideal places to listen to this disc. The CD flows between rock tracks Great Escape, She’s Got A Hold On Me, Where You’re Going, At Your Worst, Let The Fire Burn and Far Away. Saddest Song (Not Coming Home) is a brilliant soft sensitive song about loss and dealing with it. Lessons in Love, Hope, And Faith (a trilogy with its ambitious up temple part one till it reached its down-to-earth slow and beautiful part 3 closes out the album. These three songs together are about a woman in bass player’s Jett Beres’s life. These three songs show how these ladies taught him important lessons: The Road (part 1) talks about his wife, where Snow Globe (part 2) is a song about Jeff’s daughter and then with Behind The Sun (part 3) is a song about Jeff’s mother. Each of the three songs has it’s own slightly different sound (country, roots rock and arena rock) but they flow together into a fitting encapsulation of the record’s varied sound.
Just like Release, Heartland Highway was recorded in the same process as before with the way Release was done. Each member contributed tunes which they each served as producers for them. With each member’s involvement in the arrangement process, the songwriter is the one who decides what road the listener is going to go down.
For the deepest of fans of Sister Hazel might agree with me or not, but you might want to go to i-tunes and listen to the songs All The Love, Can’t Fight It, and My Heart. Why these three songs didn’t make the new record I am not sure of. These three tracks would be great songs for this CD and could have made a country pop hit for Sister Hazel. This time from Heartland Highway I hope the song She’s Got A Hold On Me or Where You’re Going makes it to radio for his CD.
(Review by Jonathan D. Wright)
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