BAM!, Vol. 1by Sister Hazel
ock songs, hey they've been doing that since the get-go. Once upon a time it was a skill that took the group consistently into the charts; now, not so much, although that's no reflection on the band's songcraft. And that talent is in full flight here on/a>
As any Hazelnut will tell you, what Sister Hazel does best is craft superb pop
ock songs, hey they've been doing that since the get-go. Once upon a time it was a skill that took the group consistently into the charts; now, not so much, although that's no reflection on the band's songcraft. And that talent is in full flight here on Bam!, an album stuffed with previous cast-offs. These are numbers that didn't make the album's cut, were relegated to bonus track oblivion, B-side neglect, or left to slumber on archived studio and rehearsal tapes. All of which makes Bam! sound like a bunch of rejects, when they're actually anything but. A clutch of the songs are fairly recent, recorded across 2005, others date further back in time, some as early as 1999. A taster for the album, "What Kind of Living," has been available online, and is one of a trio of strong songs from pre-turn of the millennium. Matching them in intensity are a pair of numbers recorded at rehearsals in 2005, with "Wrong the Right Way" particularly effective in this raw form. There again the excitement that infuses "Boy Next Door," one of a clutch of songs recorded in late 2001/early 2002, the frisson of "Sweet Destiny," the muscularity of "Grand Canyon," and the uncertain yet exquisite guitars on "She's Gone," all from this same period, capture the group at their headiest heights. The newest numbers, in contrast, sound far more polished and finished, bar the more rough and ready "Little Black Heart," and thus the album envelops the entire musical process, from rehearsal to studio to final form. And what more could fans want than to hear the band at all these stages, with even the songs at their most embryonic sounding superb. No major label would dare chance a set like this. More fool them.
- Release Date:
- Rock Ridge Music
Performance CreditsSister Hazel Primary Artist
Mike Finnigan Hammond B3
Luis Conte Percussion
Jett Beres Bass Guitar
Ken Block Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Andrew Copeland Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
Mark Trojanowski Drums
Ryan Newell Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
Tom Bukovac Guitar,Keyboards
Ken Lewis Percussion
Andrew Poliakoff Percussion,Conga
Luiz Conte Percussion
Andrew Poliakoff Conga
Technical CreditsMike Clink Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Garth Fundis Producer,Audio Production
Noel Golden Engineer
Ross Hogarth Engineer
Mills Logan Engineer
Don McCollister Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Scott Parker Producer,Audio Production
Brian David Willis Pro-Tools
Sister Hazel Audio Production
Matt Martone Engineer
Ryan Newell Engineer
Ken Kelly Engineer
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Everything about BAM is a great example of why NOT to have a major label and be a solely independent Rock and Roll band. Over the past decade, the Sister Hazel guys have worked with labels, but as a fan, you have to wonder if this band was still under large label management, would they have been able to release this B-Side CD with the crazy-fun artwork? All within a few months after their latest studio CD, Absolutely was released. Probably, very unlikely, I doubt it, No! For the Sister Hazel fan that has followed them like a neighborhood cat from the beginning, the sounds brings you back to bar days of Knickerbockers in Gainesville, Florida to the current times. The Fabulous Five stays consistent with their clever lyrics, Henley/Frey harmonizing and unparalleled musicianship we’ve become accustomed to hearing. Because this is B-Sides or unreleased material, I found myself listening to each song as its own entity rather than trying to judge the full-length album as a whole. As a fan, I try to determine where each track may have fit with the past releases. “Boy Next Door”, my favorite, seems to fit on Chasing Daylight but “Work In Progress”, a song that hints of early Todd Snider could easily be on their self-titled, white album. “Sweet Destiny” sounds like it was right off the Lift CD. A nice surprise was “Mosquito”. I remember hearing this at Smiths Olde Bar in Atlanta several years ago and have screamed it out as a request in concerts many times to no avail, it finally returns. This testimonial, ex-lover goodbye song fits perfectly with Fortress and the list goes on and on. “Wrong The Right Way” gives you a stripped down sound of Ken Block that you may hear outside of local pub with him and his Takamine guitar named Sylvia. “Can’t Get You Off My Mind” splits the CD like the first song back from the encore. Drew Copeland sounds like classic Billy Joel and could have jumped right off his solo debut “No Regrets”. Overall, this is a great addition to the Sister Hazel catalog that no fan can be disappointed to. Rather it be in the background at Nappy’s Pizza or delivered loud though maximum watts at a live show, the music will sure to make you “happy”. Thankfully, we still have true independent Rock and Roll bands giving us music as they see fit.
BAM! Volume 1 is a strong statement from the 15 year-old band from Gainesville, FL. Their music gets deeper and tighter with each release, and both longtime fans and Hazel virgins will find plenty of reasons to keep this latest album in heavy rotation for a while. A collection of B-sides and rareities, Sister Hazel's BAM! is well worth devouring. Right away, the album art and liner notes describing each of the superhero alter egos of the band members is lighthearted and inviting. You know you're getting into something new and strange, but somehow, it's not completely unfamiliar. Like an old friend with a new haircut. Sister Hazel's music is friendly, catchy and thoughtful. This is like an appetizer sampler of Sister Hazel, like a mix CD someone would make for a friend to show just how good a band they are…only with new material. Here's a track-by-track rundown: What Kind Of Living - On par with their stellar Absolutely collection, "What Kind of Living" pulls every Sister Hazel punch and we're left with another immaculately-constructed pop song by 5 guys who have mastered the craft. The lyrics are playful and winding, Ken Block's vocals are top-notch and I just love it when an album sets the tone with such a great first track. It puts you in the right mindset. You're drawn right back into the Hazel sound, and still you can tell that there's something different about this album. Boy Next Door - Slightly different feel, but the energy stays high. It's a nice "notice me, dammit" kind of song that plenty of listeners will relate to easily. Work In Progress - Destined to be sung along to by legions of fans at live shows, "Work in Progress" is a high-energy track that manages to make clever, twisting wordplay immediately approachable and memorable. You want to listen to it again right away, know it, and sing right along with it. Sweet Destiny - Amazing, country-fried harmonies from Block and Andrew Copeland are nothing new, but this one features creative vocals…and some fun "sha-na-na-na-na" bits that seem to tip the hat to similar moments in Somewhere More Familiar's "Starfish" or Fortress live show favorite, "Strange Cup of Tea." Again, this entire album seems entirely focused on permanently infusing its songs into your brain. They're contageous, and this one grown on me more every time I listen to it. On Your Mind - Pretty harmonies stick around, elevating a simple-enough song to another level. The solo in the middle is slick, reminding me a bit of John Mayer's play style. "Is that a mandolin? Guitarist Ryan Newell can definitely play one." Sick To My Soul - Back to the toe-tapping, faster stuff! Being "sick" or flawed in some way seems to be a running theme. Less memorable on the first few plays than "What Kind of Living" or "Work in Progress," but still hardly a glaring defect in the middle of a quality album. It's fine. Mosquito - NOW we're talking. This song has TEETH. There's a great edge to it, right off the bat. The unrelenting drum beat that kicks in after the first refrain is a great touch hell, every instrument sounds like it's driving forward without looking back. It just grabs you right away, and somehow remains subtle. Little Black Heart - Sounds very Fortress, reminding me of "Change Your Mind" musically. As Fortress was my first non-"All For You" introduction to Sister Hazel, it holds a special place in my heart…and it's nice to be taken back to that album, sonically. They've changed a lot since then, though. It's a reminder of how far they've come since, too. I feel like I opened a time capsule, here... Sail Away - Ooh, caliente. This one's all groove. Within ten seconds, you half expect someone to tell you to put your hands together. Cute little song, I like it. Then again, I don't think there's a Hazel tune in existence that I'll skip if it po
Hazel’s ‘BAM!’ captures creativity, energy of band By Denton Ramsey Reaching into their vault of musical masterpieces, Sister Hazel has done it again – producing a top-notch album with amazing beats and harmonies their fans have grown to know and love. As well as appreciate. With the band’s latest release, ‘BAM! Volume 1,’ Hazel continues to blow me away – both as a lifetime fan of the band and a diehard fan of great music. These guys honestly rival bands such as the Beatles and Grateful Dead for greatest band of all-time. And they are completely underrated. In fact, if I were to be stranded on an island and could only bring one band’s CD’s with me, the choice would be simple. Hazel all the way. With the band’s latest ‘BAM’ release, Hazel goes back to their roots with many of these terrific tracks. The beautiful thing about this band is the fact that it’s more than just music – it’s a lifestyle. As a lifetime Hazelnut, this comes as no surprise. Since the band first blossomed from a trio of stars to the five-piece group we know today, they have created and produced incredible music. Years later, they continue to do the same thing – and their latest release has it all: from Ken Block’s beautiful vocals to Ryan Newell’s sweet riffs, this CD is clearly clever from start to finish. From song one to song 15, you’ve just got to love these guys. Just eight months after producing and releasing a musical masterpiece with ‘Absolutely,’ Sister Hazel followed up with another near-perfect album. The band’s first B-side release, ‘BAM! Volume 1,’ hit stores on June 8. And the music is already making waves with their fans, known simply as “Hazelnuts.” For the Gainesville, Florida five-some, ‘BAM! Volume 1’ was a perfect solution to a good problem to have when it comes to making music – having too much music. Due to everyone in the band writing, there tends to be an overflow of music for each and every album battling out for a space on a CD. Hazel’s solution: the creation of ‘BAM! Volume 1.’ “One day we just said, ‘let’s build a home for [these songs],’” drummer Mark Trojanowski said. “That’s part of the beauty of being an independent artist. When you get fired up about the music, you can just skip the red tape and pull the trigger.” And pull the trigger, they did. “One of the hardest parts of making a CD for us has been picking the songs,” lead singer Ken Block said. “We are a five-man democracy, and sifting through 70-something songs each time to narrow it down to one CD worth of music has always been challenging. Since we all write, there are always a ton of songs that we work up.” For the band, a CD such as ‘BAM! Volume 1’ is a first – but from start to finish, it’s full of typical-Hazel melodies and rhythms that make this band so remarkable. “This is our first hybrid CD,” bassist Jett Beres said. “There are full-blown studio tracks, live studio demos that captured our first pure swing at new songs, and some rare bonus tracks.” The excitement the band feels about their new CD is matched by a superb release filled with some of Hazel’s favorite hidden gems. “I think when we sat down to sketch out this CD, we were done in about 10 minutes,” rhythm guitarist Drew Copeland said. “We’ve all been championing these songs for a while now. Not only was it painless, but when we listened to what we had, we were beyond excited.” Hazel lead guitarist Ryan Newell concurs. “In some cases a demo just feels better than the studio version,” Newell said. “Sometimes a studio track doesn’t fit the rest of
Being a B-sides album definetely doesn't leave BAM! out of the competition for "Best Sister Hazel Album". Of course, it is impossibly hard to choose the best one - just as hard as it is to choose a favorite song out of BAM!. After listening to it a few times, you realize what a B-side means with Sister Hazel: instead of being not-so-good songs, they all fit right in with the rest of their work. The one reason why they didn't come out in previuos albums was lack of space, but they are really songs that should have always been there. Most of the tracks go along the same lines as the band's previous records. There are the upbeat feel-good songs like Grand Canyon, and Sail Away, which takes you right into the Rock Boat, the band's yearly music festival at sea. Then there are the beautifully written ballads like Sweet Destiny, On Your Mind, and Mona Lisa. For the fans who are always eager to hear the band doing something different, there's the punk-rock of Work In Progress, and the heavier Mosquito. But the one thing that is never different is that there is not one bad song in the whole album. Pretty soon you forget that these are songs you didn't know a short time ago, and each and every one of them becomes like an old friend you often find yourself thinking about. The cover of BAM! shows the guys as superheroes, and that's what they really are. Time and again they manage to write a song that relates so completely with what is going on in our lives, it makes us feel like someone out there understands us, we're not alone and everything will be all right in the end. For me, this time, it's What Kind of Living, a catchy song about being stuck in a relationship going nowhere. Sister Hazel has saved my life more than once in this way, by bringing music and beauty to every kind of feeling, and for that they really are my superheroes. Any Sister Hazel fan absolutely must have this album, because the collection would be incomplte without it. And anyone who is not yet a Sister Hazel fan... it's time to start! So turn up the volume, add a little BAM! to the Ginger Ale, and go have fun with this newest Hazel journey!
Each time I hear Sister Hazel I am astounded by the creative lyrics and music of this songwriting team. This album is again an exciting surprise. I look forward to the cd in my mailbox hoping to find a personal link. I did. I'm a nut who has followed this band for years and with each new release I find a personal relationship hit a new level of understanding. Knowing this is several years of unreleased music I found this to be a thread that connects each previous work to the quilt of today. "Work in Progress" reminds me so much of their very first Self-Titled CD that gave us the acoustic version of All For You. Ken Block's lyrics in "Wrong the Right Way" brought me to tears remembering advice that my grandmother has given me so many times. I can visualize Ken in the studio. "Sail Away" is such a great reminder to all the Sister Hazel and Rock Boat fans from around the world. This is a great song that reminds us why we live for that one week of vacation surrounded by friends and music. Again, Block's creativity with lyrics in songs like "Save Myself" and "Sweet Destiny" using words to paint a picture to music without using trite and overused phrases always amazes me. Even if you don't own a Sister Hazel album, you should buy this one. This will show their breadth of style and creativity and help you see why so many of us have them all.
I have loved Sister Hazel's music for over ten (10) years. I own all of their albums and love them all. This one is no different. It is definitely worth buying. And if you don’t have the rest of their albums, buy them too!!!!!! You will not be disappointed.
Sister Hazel offers listeners an unadulterated peek into the band's formative years with songs that never suffered the fine mesh screening of more commericialized albums. With BAM! the band provides a great soundtrack for every time, place, and mood. Listen through the cd straight or skip to the song that fits you in the moment. You're certain to find something that you identify with. Surely a cult classic for those familiar with the band and certain to be a new favorite for those unfamiliar with the band.
Sister Hazel keeps the same great sound as in several of their older albums for a few songs, but several other songs are a unique but a great sound for them. Definitely a CD worth buying if your an old fan or if you're a new listener.
Sister Hazel's latest BAM helps me feel FREE - on top of the world and I'm not coming down! YES, for independence! Not owning to any record label has given these Far Out 5 artists the freedom to follow their hearts! How cool it must be to go out of your comfort zone and just create! Ken and Drew's long-standing oneness in their harmonies, Ryan's soul-reaching guitar riffs, Jett's soulful B-Ass, Mark's penetrating sticks, and their collaborations with the gifted musicians whose help they enlisted, all gel just right! They take us from tunes that git us right in the gut like Boy Next Door, Sweet Destiny, On Your Mind, Wrong the Right Way, to heart-pulling Sick to My Soul, Little Black Heart, to being free as a bird for Sail Away, to the southern twang of Can't Get you Off My Mind, to being ROCKED OUT on She's Gone, and still riding HIGH through Mona Lisas. I highly recommend BAM to old-time Hazel fans and newbies to the Beacon of Light! Their superpowers are beaming BRIGHTLY and we're singing their praises!
Sister Hazel is everything that music should be. The artists are five of the nicest guys who genuinely care about their fans. With all they give to the “Hazelnut” community, they really are like their superhero characters on the cover. Listening to a Hazel cd is like hanging out with a close group of friends. It’s fun, comfortable, and you can spend hours and hours with them and it feels like just a few minutes. And, like with true best friends, you are challenged to think, feel, and connect. Sister Hazel’s songs are meaningful, soulful, and speak to the world in which we live, and the hearts in each of us. With honest, raw passion, the music reflects all the different places on the emotional spectrum and takes the listener on a journey from heartache to utter ecstasy. There is enough “grit” in the music to keep it real, and yet from the positive optimism in the songs we learn that if we really try, reach out to others, and go for our dreams, we can make this world a really great place. Sister Hazel does not disappoint with their newest cd, BAM! The long-time Hazlnuts will love the smorgasbord collection of “B sides and rarities” and those new to Sister Hazel will be sucked in immediately and will want to add all the other cds to their collection. All of the lyrics, vocals, and instrumental work come together to make a top-notch rock album filled with different colors and textures. Like with all their other cds, there is not a bad song, or even one that is just so-so. You can listen to BAM all the way through over and over again and the songs will still hit you like the first time.