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INTERVIEW: Sister Hazel

Originating from Gainesville, FL, Sister Hazel is comprised of five gifted, seasoned musicians whose well-spring of natural talent has been called "one of the Top 100 Most Influential Independent Performers of the last 15 years," by Performing Songwriter Magazine. The song "All for You" topped the adult alternative charts during the summer of 1997 and the success propelled their album to platinum status.

 Living up to their fan-centered reputation, the band hosts annual events like “Hazelnut Hang,” that focuses on fan involvement and was a pioneer in themed cruise experiences by co-founding “The Rock Boat,” a cruise featuring nonstop opportunities for fan/artist interaction. Sister Hazel has been equally attentive to connecting with their audience through social media.They have since made their Grand Ole Opry debut and shared the stages with country music superstars at The CMA Festival, and Tortuga Music Festival, among others. In addition to the events and touring, the band also gives back with “Lyrics For Life.” Founded by singer Ken Block and the Band, the charity unites musicians and celebrities for concerts and auctions to benefit cancer research and patient-care charities.

Sister Hazel recently dropped a brand-new song, "Hole In Your Life" AND will be performing at Red, Rhythm & Boom in Mason on July 3rd! We had the opportunity to chat with the lead singer of Sister Hazel, Ken Block!

CincyMusic: Sister Hazel has been a fan-favorite band for so long, what can fans expect at the show on July 3rd?
Ken Block: We bring a high-energy live show every single night we play. And with this being an outdoor holiday festival show - It’ll take things up even another notch! Everyone there will be ready to have a blast… We’ll have people singing along to all the radio hits, throw in some jams and a couple of killer new tracks, and even squeeze in our band’s take on a cover or two! Our goal every night is that everyone who comes to a Sister Hazel show leaves there feeling a little bit better than when they got there!  

CM: What prompted the charity Lyrics For Life? What does it mean to the band?
KB: I lost my younger brother Jeffrey to Cancer when we were just teenagers. It was absolutely brutal. Agonizing. It impacts me painfully to this day - and continues to push us to do good... He was my absolute best friend. He was diagnosed at just 14 years old and passed away after an up-and-down four-year battle…. That loss fueled my wanting to do something meaningful with our “Sister Hazel” platform in the fight against cancer. The entire band has jumped in full tilt too! They have all suffered losses to cancer as well - so we are all "all in" with our commitment to our Lyrics for Life foundation and the events!

Today, we’ve raised over 4 million dollars which has all gone directly to cancer research, patient care or support, or sending kids and their families who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis to ‘Camp Hazelnut” where they can just unplug and have fun in a safe summer camp environment. Each year we bring in amazing artists to our flagship event. Our last 2 events featured our old friends Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish) and Pat Monahan (Train). This year's event will bring in yet another superstar - announcement coming soon!

CM: Tell us about the new song, “Hole In Your Life”
KB: Drew wrote it with Emerson Hart from "Tonic.” Emerson has been like a brother to us for over 25 years - and they came up with a high-energy rock track with some relatable introspective lyrics. Plus it's fun to play live!

CM: What is next for Sister Hazel?

KB: The Sister Hazel Train keeps rolling. 100 plus tour dates this year.. We have a brand new record coming out this year with new songs being released each month, We just finished tracking it and I think we’re more excited about these tracks than anything we’ve done in a while - (and we’ve been pretty excited about the last few releases)!! We Founded “TheRockBoat.com” in 2000 - and we are gearing up for our 24th sold-out festival at sea with 30 bands and 2500 cruisers. We have a more intimate European River Cruise with Fans (Euro-Hang 2) where we take over an entire river boat and 200 fans to sail the Danube, tour Europe, play some music, and have some great new adventures with the “Hazelnuts”, and we have our 18th annual Hazelnut Hang fan event in Isle of Palms/Charleston SC and we’re bringing our old buddies Everclear and our country neighbor Easton Corbin. The Hazel juggernaut keeps on creating, experiencing, and cruising along!