Revolution Live hosts nun inspired band Sister Hazel

By: Yazmine Granthon/colomnist

Gainesville based  alternative rock band, Sister Hazel performs at Revolution Live this Friday, Feb.18.

Combining elements of folk rock and rock ‘n’ roll, the band strays away from the grunge and dark feel to focus on more optimistic music. Just from the name of the band, you can tell the story of their music. Sister Hazel Williams was a nun in a nearby Gainesville church that accepted children during the 1970s and 80s to stay warm in her shelter. The ideal of unconditional concern is what drove the members to take on the name for their group.

In 1994 the group released their self-titled album with their independent record label, Croakin’ Poets. Upon releasing their second album, “ …Somewhere more familiar” and selling 30,000 copies, the band signed with Universal Records in 1997. The label re-released their album later in the year and their hit single “All For You” reached number 11 on the Billboard 100 charts. Universal gave the band members the opportunity to work with producers who worked with top chart bands like Cheap Trick, Guns N’ Roses, and 3 Doors Down. But in 2003, the band split from Universal and continued with their own independent label releasing five more albums. Fame came to the band not just through their intelligent way of expressing themselves through music, but even Ford Motor Company used the band as the face of the company’s new Sync Technology program. Sister Hazel also appeared in movies like “The Wedding Planner,” “American Wedding,” and “10 Things I Hate About You.”

Sister Hazel really captures their fans, or “hazelnuts” as some followers call themselves. in an upbeat spirit switching from electric to acoustic within their songs. The band brings that added country flavor that many people may not be so used to. One example that really exemplifies their diversity can be shown in a recent album “Release.” Lead guitarist/vocalist and songwriter Ken Block took a step back and encouraged each of his band mates to write at least two songs in the album. In Block’s titled song, “Take A Bow,” he shines instruments like banjos and cellos. The folk guitar stands out above all, using melodic tunes and energetic riffs. The ability to bring that diversity of various songwriters really gets us, as the listeners, to hear about different hardships, love, and faith.

Guitarist Ryan Newell quotes: “The songwriter is the person who decides what road we’re going to go down.”

Recently releasing their 12-song album “Heartland Highway” in October of last year, the band tours about 100 times a year and still actively participates in charitable work. So to involve yourself in something different from Swing music or Hip Hop, be sure to watch the band perform at Revolution Live at 8 p.m.

Revolution Live

200 W Broward Blvd

Fort Lauderdale, FL


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