CD Review: Sister Hazel “Release”

Sister HThe prolific songwriting team of Sister Hazel is back with their latest, “Release”. The depth of their songwriting well never ceases to amaze me – Ken Block just released a solo record not long ago (reviewed here), but he and the boys are back with another remarkably strong set of songs…and in my opinion, one of their strongest sets since the masterful “Fortress” from 2000.

Most people know Sister Hazel from their breakout hit, “All For You” off 1997’s “…Somewhere More Familiar”. Since that sophomore record, the band has been quietly cranking out fantastic acoustic-based rock at a breakneck pace (almost one album a year). “Release” is their seventh studio release, not counting a couple of great live albums and solid solo efforts from band members along the way.

As usual, Sister Hazel sounds great – they really have found their groove after all these years. The trademark harmonies are plentiful, the acoustic guitars are shimmering, and the drums keep a dynamic and steady pace. The band treads no new ground here, but they have a proven formula and why fix what isn’t broke? Best of all, each song sounds like it received the same care and attention any band would give towards a single.

Interspersed among a bunch of very good tunes are some downright excellent ones, including “Run For The Hills”, “I Believe In You”, and the title track (co-written by Emerson Hart of Tonic). Other notable contributors on this effort include Pat McGee and Stan Lynch (Tom Petty). Sister Hazel was clearly in the zone while writing and recording “Release”, one of their best efforts in an already outstanding discography. Get this one right now – it is super cheap at most major retail outlets. Help make this one their lucky seven and get Sister Hazel back on the charts where they belong!

iPOD-worthy: ALL TRACKS

Sister Hazel on MySpace. Official site.