Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sister Hazel to Play Freebird Live

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sister Hazel to Play Freebird Live

Article excerpt

Byline: Tamara McClaran, Shorelines correspondent

It's only fitting that the band Sister Hazel, which performs tonight at Freebird Live in Jacksonville Beach, is part of the area's featured entertainment for Super Bowl week. The group's last appearance in Jacksonville was for the NFL Kickoff concert, in September..

"It was the odd pairing of Sister Hazel with Jessica Simpson," said lead singer/acoustic guitarist Ken Block, who has lived in Jacksonville and still lives in Florida. "We are really proud of all that is going on in the city of Jacksonville with the Super Bowl. It's nice to see such great things happen on the First Coast."

Block was hoping to see the Atlanta Falcons go to the Super Bowl, because he and the other members of the band have many ties to Atlanta. Nevertheless, he thinks the match between Philadelphia and New England will make for an exciting game.

"I think it'd be nice for Philly to finally win the big one -- injuries and all," Block said. "Plus, I do like to watch underdogs rise up to a challenge."

Sister Hazel is no stranger to being the underdog or rising to a challenge. The group formed in 1993 and is probably best known for its 1997 single All For You, which was a No. 1 or top-five hit on the charts of four different radio formats.

Over the years, the band has produced two top-selling albums (Somewhere More Familiar and Fortress) as well as about a half-dozen pop-rock songs that have been featured in television shows and movies, including The Wedding Planner, Bedazzled and Major League 3.

Yet Sister Hazel hasn't gotten the media exposure that some bands do. The group hasn't been on the cover of Rolling Stone or appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno or Late Night with David Letterman. While it hasn't been an MTV darling, Block says the band is better than ever.

"The band puts music and live shows first," Block said. "It is the heart and soul of this band."

In addition to Block, the band is: Jett Beres on bass and vocals, Andrew Copeland on rhythm guitar and vocals, Ryan Newell on lead guitar and vocals and Mark Trojanowski on drums.

Their latest album, Lift, which was released in August, demonstrates the band's diversity. I Will Come Through is rooted in funk and blues, while Surrender, which Block co-wrote with Richard Marx, is edgy. World Inside My Head and Another Me are piano-based while All About The Love is acoustic and has a reggae feel. Sister Hazel also does a cover of the Cars' Just What I Needed.

"The band plays a diverse variety and range of styles," Block said. "We all grew up with so many different influences, from Van Halen to Van Morrison."

Throughout the year, Sister Hazel maintains a hefty tour schedule. The band has also released two studio albums, a DVD and a double-live collection (as well as guitarist Copeland's solo debut) in less than two years. …

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