It has been a decade since Sister Hazel was on a major label. However, the band has managed to maintain a flourishing career with a grassroots approach that caters to its faithful fans through steady touring and unique events such as Hazelnut Hang and The Rock Boat.
Sister Hazel, presenting a free outdoor concert at The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek on Thursday, formed in Gainesville, Fla., in 1993. It was at the mainstream height of grunge but Ken Block (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Drew Copeland (rhythm guitar, vocals), Ryan Newell (lead guitar, vocals), Jett Beres (bass, vocals) and Mark Trojanowski (drums) focused on an infectious brand of acoustic-based radio rock that owed more to groups like R.E.M., Better Than Ezra and Hootie and the Blowfish than Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Soundgarden.
Sister Hazel’s self-titled, self-released album from 1994 drew the attention of Universal Music Group, which signed the band to a record deal. Sister Hazel’s major label debut, “Somewhere More Familiar,” was a top 50 album, but the follow-up, “Fortress,” barely registered on Billboard’s top 100 album charts.
When the group severed ties with record company behemoth Universal in 2003, the members of Sister Hazel returned to the grassroots method that first garnered them underground success. The most effective promotions have been interactive gatherings. In March, the group hosted its eighth annual Hazelnut Hang, which is a three-day beach party mixer and concert experience in Isle of Palms, S.C.
Next up in February 2014 is The Rock Boat XIV, a four-day cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl billed as “summer camp for adults.” Rock Boat features concerts and acoustic showcases but it also allows attendees unparalleled access to the members of host band Sister Hazel and the more than 30 other participating acts such as Reel Big Fish, former Live vocalist Ed Kowalczyk, Tonic and Will Hoge. For more information, visit www.sisterhazel.com.
How to go
Who: Sister Hazel
Where: The Greene Town Center, 51 Plum St., Beavercreek
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
More info: (937) 490-4990 or www.thegreene.com
Artist info: www.sisterhazel.com