Introducing....Hannah Blaylock

Hannah BlaylockPerhaps currently better known as one third of disbanded country group Edens Edge, Hannah Blaylock is poised to release an EP full of solo music.

Hannah recently created a Reverbnation page (which you can find here) to preview her EP, enabling listeners to hear Making Our Own Fun and Drive, with various acoustic videos of other EP tracks available on Hannah's YouTube channel.

Making Our Own Fun has an Americana/rock combined sound that works really well and instantly reminded me of something Lee Ann Womack might release, particularly in the verses. The party feel to the lyrics is really helped by the upbeat, catchy melody and drum led production. Hannah has an undoubtedly distinctive tone to her voice and that works very well with the Americana feel.

Drive, on the other hand, is the softer of the previewed tracks. It is firmly rooted in country music with the verses being the strongest parts of the track in my opinion. The electric guitar then acoustic guitar opening is very effective and draws you in, making you want to hear the rest of the track. Hannah's vocal sounds completely comfortable and is supported by a great production that grows and fades when needed.

I caught up with Hannah a few days ago for a chat...

What first drew you to country music?
I grew up with country music my whole life and my parents raised me on folk, Americana, singer-songwriter. They're from the seventies so lots of James Taylor, Nancy Griffith, Vince Gill, artists like that that were vocalists and communicators. My whole family's really musical and I kind of just wanted to get into country because I loved how it told a story and how the main purpose of it is to connect. I really love how music connects in a song. It's a very cheesy way of saying it but I really don't know how to describe it any other way. Isn't that why we all love music? It's a universal language and it moves you in a way that you can't really put into words a lot. I feel like country music does that, with telling a story that we can all relate to. I grew up loving The Dixie Chicks and then discovered Patty Griffin had written a lot of their songs and she's one of my all time heroes and Alison Krauss, so all of the artists I was drawn to were in this format and all of the artistic products that they created, they were all in this realm, it just formed me in to who I am, very country!
Listeners will recognise you from Edens Edge, what can we expect from your solo music?
Well I hope stuff that you can relate to and love! When I was in Edens Edge...I started Edens Edge with my parents in the eight grade and it just was kind of family then, we had friends coming to and Dean and Cherrill came into the band and made it way cooler [laughs] They're amazing players, but I was very young the whole time that I was in the band so I feel like a lot of what I have to say is for a person in college that is growing up in their twenties or in their mid-twenties that's kind of going through what I'm going through, heartbreaks, or looking for an adventure, I've written a lot about adventure and romance, I touch on a lot of romantic notes as far as that because I have fallen in love since then and I've been inspired by a lot of different types of music in the wave that is happening right now. So it's still very much me, to me, but I'll be interested to see what people think and how people react to it. I just started a Reverbnation, I've been kind of writing for the past couple of years and when you develop a new project I really believe in taking the time to really create a solid foundation. So I've really worked hard on doing that with my publishing company Big Deal Music and we've been working on really finding and writing quality songs and developing and honing in on the sound of who I am now as I've lived life here in Nashville and sang in the trio and now it's just me so what does that look like. It's been really really inspiring, it's been really liberating and I think if I were to describe the sound it would be like...some of the heroes that I've kind of been inspired by through this project have been Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood and Linda Ronstadt. Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood are the main two that I really pulled from. It touches a lot on traditional country but it's progressive in it's own right as well. I don't know, I'm interested to see how everybody feels about it, I think it will be great.
Did you find it hard to leave Edens Edge and work on developing your own music?
Yeah, it was definitely a leaps of faith, definitely a heart driven decision but it's been really really inspiring to go on this new adventure. That band is all I've ever known my whole life so I've definitely learned a whole lot about myself , it's been really inspiring to be chased in this project and be developing it. 
Christ Alone is a gorgeous song and was quite a surprise to see on the end of the Edens Edge album, are we likely to see any other surprises in your solo releases?
 The full record I have some exciting, kind of unconventional stuff that I'd like to put on there but it's not fully done yet so I hope so. I always like to touch back to my routes, on the EP there's a song called "Way Back Home" that I wrote with Matraca Berg, one of my heroes. She wrote "Strawberry Wine" and "You And Tequila", many many other amazing songs, she's one of the best singer-songwriters I've ever known in my entire life. I had the honour of writing a song with her that I put on the EP that just talks about my routes and sort of a metaphorical description of what it's like when you don't live where your roots are but how you're always forever connected there, like a tree. How my family just gave me such an amazing foundation and I've just very much been loved and supported my whole life and I'm very lucky. Arkansas is very much my roots and where I come from and there's no matter amount of time or where I go or the things that I do, nothing will change that. So I feel like "Christ Alone" was definitely a message in that regard because the guy that started the family band with my parents and I, he was a family friend named Steve Smith and he wrote that song among many others that we sang and that song was like an ode home so "Way Back Home" will be that for the EP and I always do that. I love southern hymns, I don't know if I'm going to be doing a southern hymn on this record but definitely will on the future. "Way Back Home" is a very folk, singer-songwriter touch base on the foundation of who I am.
Which artist would you like to collaborate with and why?
Oh so many! I've recently written a song with Ray LaMontagne and he's amazing, I love him. I would love to sing with Vince Gill, that's always been an all time dream, I just think he's all around amazing and incredible and that voice just slays me. Natalie Maines and The Dixie Chicks would be insane. They're my heroes and I grew up worshipping them my whole life so that would be awesome.
You've co-written and released various songs in the past, can we expect more co-writing or writing solo for future releases?
Yeah! So all the songs that are on the EP, that will hopefully be released soon, it's to be determined the release date, I've written all the songs so far. I think I've written 178 songs so far so lots and lots to choose from! [laughs] I love writing and I love co-writing and collaborating with people that I really connect with musically and the different things that we bring out of each other and I'm never going to stop doing that. But like with the Edens Edge record, I've never been against cutting an outside song as well because to me there are so many amazing song-writers that create these beautiful works of art and just because I wasn't a part of them doesn't mean that they shouldn't be out there. If I'm honoured enough to be the communicator for that I'll take it. Back when I was growing up with country music when I was a kid none of the artists wrote the songs as much, it wasn't as common I guess. Faith and Trisha and all of them, I didn't ever hear about them co-writing the songs most of the time. I think that it's amazing that the artist is so involved in the song-writing room but I also the song-writers in this town are song-writers full time because that is what they've honed in on and that's their skill set and they're the best at that. Artists jobs are very vast and there's a lot of different skills, you're out on the road, you're performing, you're singing, you're spending time doing other things, while writers are here every single day honing their craft on song-writing. So I love being in the room with them and learning so much every single time I'm in a writing room, from myself, from the song-writers that I write with, but at the end of the day I want my record to be the best songs and I want to be singing the best songs that I find and the ones that touch my heart the most and hopefully touch others as well.
Which song do you wish you'd written?
That's a good question...I wish I'd written "Suds In The Bucket", I love that song! "Cowboy Take Me Away" as well. Also the Dierks Bentley song, "Say You Do", I'm obsessed with that song. You know what song I'm talking about? For a today song, I love that song, it's so good. I wouldn't have minded writing that one. I could have written that one, that wouldn't have bothered me! [laughs]
 Which is your favourite song you've written?
Oh gosh that's hard...I can't pick a favourite! They're all pieces of me, it's like you put a piece of yourself in every song you write. If I were to talk about one of my favourites it would be a ballad that I have on my EP called "Don't Want You To Go". I have this kind of romantic nature about me, us girls, you know. I think I like it because to me it's a depiction of a very real heart that's in this situation where, either a marriage or a relationship and one of the people are in the military and travelling and abroad. That commitment and the connection and the strength that the person back at home as to endure, keep the house together, keep the fort solid. Both of my grandparents were in the military in the World War and lots of my friends and my cousins, I have a lot of family and friends that are in the military and that sacrifice a lot for that and the wives and the husbands that stay home and that keep the home life together. The work that you have to do with that love is, to me, really inspirational and I wrote a song that was one of the first songs I wrote as a solo artist and I'm really honoured that I was a part of that song. There's a part of you when you're writing a song where you think you have something to do with it in some way, honestly I kind of believe that that's never true, you're lucky enough to be in the room and experience that song being born. It just sort of appears when it wants to appear. You have your skill set and your craft and you have your inspirations and your melodies of who you are but really the song will take form and you just get to watch it. So I was lucky enough to watch that song being born and it's one of my favourites and I'm proud that it's on the EP.
What is your favourite part about being a musician?
Getting to do what I love every single day. Getting to be creative and getting to connect with people and getting to travel and sing for people, be the thing that makes them happy. Any time you can feel like you make a difference in this world then it makes it all worth it. This is a way that I can do that in the world, I can make a difference by singing and writing music and hopefully there's a lot more difference I can make in the future. I'm very very lucky to get to do what I love every day. 
What would you say your least favourite part is?
Being patient! [laughs] I'm not very patient, if I write something that I really really's like when you hear about in the entertainment industry things just take a long time. It is about timing in a lot of ways. I write a song and I want to get it out to everybody, I want to show all the fans and re-connect with everybody but if the timing just isn't right you could have written a song that day and you're so excited. You hear about all these stories about all these artists and you're like 'where did they come from' but they've been working on their project for years. You hear about films that had taken 10 plus years to finally be made. It takes a lot of work on the back end and behind the curtain to make a project come to life and a lot of different avenues. It is a business and so there's a lot of different loops that you have to go through and it's definitely a really unique journey in that way for sure [laughs] So I think, whenever you have something that you really believe in and you want to share it with the world and you have to wait, that's hard. I can't wait to share this EP with everybody and get back out there and start singing for people but it has to be the right situation and the right timings. I'm excited, I think it's coming up on us really close and I'm getting to play for CMA Fest this year, starting getting out a little bit more and I'm excited about that. I do believe in creating a foundation like I said before but every single day I have to talk myself of a cliff of like 'okay now? okay now are we ready? no we're not ready, okay what about now? no no not yet' [laughs]
Are there any plans to come and tour in the UK yet?
Oh I hope so! I would love that. I've been to Europe and I've been to Italy in college but that's the only time I've ever been so I need to come and I would love to play, I would love that. There's no defined set time yet but that's definitely a bucket list thing for me, I want to come out there and see you guys. There's such amazing country music fans out there and I've heard from a lot of my friends just how good of a time it is to come out and play music with you guys so I can't wait to do it when the time is right.  
Thank you to Hannah for her time! Making Our Own Fun and Drive are both brilliant tracks and it sounds like the rest of the EP will be great too. Hannah is undoubtedly talented and it's great to hear that she is gearing up to release music of her own. I'm really excited to hear her full EP, make sure you keep an eye on the site for a full review once it's released!