"I currently have over 200 CD's and this is by far one of my top 3 Favorite CD's that I have. There is NOTHING that gets much better than Sister Hazel, and I'm a big techno music fan anyway.1.)Change Your Mind-This is my #1 fav song in the whole entire world.2.)Back Porch-37 second instrumental song-nice song to lead into number 3.3.)Thank You- Another Favorite of mine. Wonderful upbeat song.4.)Champagne High-This song seems to be really popular although it is not one of my fav's. Still very good though.5.)Beautiful Thing-Starts out with great guitar and kicks in to be a great song with awesome lyrics.6.)Surreal-Catchy tune will get you singing along. Another Hit!7.)Shame On Me-This one is a little bit slower that starts out with great electric guitars.8.)Your Winter-May recognize this one from the "10 Things I Hate About You" soundtrack its a little bit slower and it has great lyrics.9.)Strange Cup of Tea-I love the title and it's a great upbeat song. You will definitely love tihs one!10.)Save Me-This song is really cool. It kinda sounds like an older 80's rock song.11.)Give In-This is my 2nd or 3rd favorite. It is upbeat and very good.12.)Out There-This song is slower and okay but not one of the best. It grows on you after you hear it a few times.13.)Elvis-This song is really cool but It doesn't have really good lyrics like most of their songs do. Still worth a listen.14.)Fortress-Slower song. This is really good and probably one of the best slow songs I've heard in a long time.This is one of the best CD's you could buy for yourself even if your not the biggest Sister Hazel fan. If you enjoy good music period then I guarantee you will LOVE this CD. I love his voice, it is one of the best voices in music today and he can make it sound really cool when he slightly changes it in some of the songs. This CD is also an enhanced CD so pop it in your CD-ROM and enjoy. This CD is definitely 5 stars in my book. Take this winner home today and rock out!"
Even *I* like it
NDM | 09/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's get one thing straight up front: I don't like southern-fried rock. I was never big on Skynyrd or the Allmans or Hootie or anyone else other reviewers are comparing Sister Hazel to. I'm a 47-year-old geezer who grew up on prog acts like the "classic 7" Moody Blues and Peter Gabriel's Genesis, whose CD collection today is dominated by the likes of Mozart and Handel. No country boy me.
Okay? Okay. Now, about this CD: I don't get it. How did Sister Hazel escape superstardom? How on earth did "Fortress" slip past the Grammy people? I don't have many pop/rock CDs where I'd consider every track a keeper - count 'em on one hand you have enough fingers left over for a wide selection of rude gestures. But not only isn't there a bad track on "Fortress"; there's not even a mediocre one.
Why? Number one: the music is masterful. The tunes are at once melodic enough to hum but complex enough to tickle the brain. The musicianship - especially the guitar work - is not just good, it makes you *feel* good. If these guys aren't enjoying themselves, they're putting on a heckuvan act.
Number two: the lyrics are witty and intelligent. Not only that, they're fun. Given a microphone, many bands these days (like composers of grand opera before them) wallow in self-pity or throw what amount to brat-tizzies set to music. Not Sister Hazel. I'm struck by the upbeat, positive mood in most of the songs. Even the done-me-wrong downers are clever, and often, like "Elvis," funny... in a quirky, backhanded sort of way.
This is pick-me-up music all the way. It practically winks and grins at you out of the speakers. The playing and production are seamless. Put it on after a really bad day at work and watch how fast the world rights itself. Sister Hazel: Now I know where you are, I'm coming after you... or at least, after more of your albums."
The sophomore effort a good investment
SW | MO | 07/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Much thanks to Sister Hazel for remembering what exactly can be done with guitar, voice, and drums. Though not particularly innovative instrumentally, Fortress does offer significant appeal by reminding us why we like good ol' guitars, vocals, and drums by offsetting an overdone sound with underestimated talent. Fronted by lead man Ken Block's distinctive, stingy baritone, the five-man group plays with tight harmonies and catchy counter melodies (especially powerful in Champagne High and Change Your Mind) to create a deep, intricate blend of refreshing chords. All of this on top of great guitar licks (in tracks like Surreal and Back Porch) that take a down-home acoustic feel and blend it with jangly, power rock. And yes, in Sister Hazel tradition, they throw in more than their fair share of surprise chord changes that accentuate the lyrics and rhythmic patterns that accentuate the music.Also surprising is the detail in the songwriting, both lyrically and musically. Each of the five members of Sister Hazel contributes something, ensuring a fresh, varied sound. Not forgetting the catchiness of wordplay (consequence is inconsequential; it's over and I'm overwhelmed; leave no turn unstoned), the well-crafted lyrics weave in and out of the music, often breaking up lyrical phrases to keep musical ones. Yet despite the lyrics, it's still evident these boys are about the music. They are never far from a deep string sound-be it with guitar (including classical), mandolin, violin, viola, and cello. Although with fourteen tracks, a few of the songs blend together, they do offer distinctive riffs and inventive sounds if the listener actually listens.Though they were born from a generation of gritty vocals and clanging guitars, Sister Hazel manages to take the tired sound a step further through its responsible songwriting and conscientious musicality and create something fresh, interesting, and well worth the investment."
No, it's not innovative - the word is GOOD
Ben Salk | Poughkeepsie, NY United States | 08/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wish the critics would lay off Sister Hazel. I bought Somewhere More Familiar... right when it came out, put it on the back burner, and barely listened to it. I really meant to originally, but I got so sick of the three huge singles off it (All For You, Happy, and Concede) that I never got around to it. Until recently, when I finally - 3 years late - fell in love with every single song on the CD. Fortress is more of the same great stuff.Yes, Sister Hazel is a band very true to it's roots. But they have greatly varying roots, and their music is just as reminiscent of the Allman Brothers Band as it is of Hootie and the Blowfish, if not more. Basically, don't let the "official" reviews scare you off from Sister Hazel. They are a talented band that is simultaenously easy to listen to and energetic, upbeat and thoughtful, melodic and exciting. It's extremely difficult to strike as perfect a balance as Sister Hazel, and I for one would rather enjoy the products of this balance than nitpick them for not being "ground-breaking.""