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Music Review: Ken Block – Drift

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Ken Block, lead singer of the band Sister Hazel, has been meaning to release a solo album for quite some time. As he says, he’s “a bit of a perfectionist trapped inside the body of a procrastinator.” But his fans have been waiting eagerly and patiently. Now finally, on December ninth, Rock Ridge Music will release Drift, a well-designed, twelve-track album written, produced, and arranged by Ken Block.

In the 90s, many people came to know and love Sister Hazel when songs like “All for You,” “Happy,” and “Your Winter” were a radio buzz. The band has transformed over the years, and Drift definitely has a different sound.

"Recording by myself, without the five-man democracy, was both liberating and utterly terrifying," says Block. "In the band setting, everyone puts their stamp on the songs."

But now, the entire album, all but the track “Chance,” is a Block original. And he’s created some very enjoyable and whimsical pieces. A highlight, and my favorite, is an upbeat, southern-rock influenced track called “I don’t Mind.” Block sings, “I don’t mind when you sing so badly that it scares me. You dance around like nobody’s watching at all. Sometimes you’re completely inconvenient.”

That song and others, including “So Far,” are hilariously entertaining. But some add an entirely different quality to Drift. With singer Maile Misajon, “Blue to a Blind Man" is beautiful, simple, soothing, and a great addition to an overall fantastic album.

However, there was one disappointing quality I think I should mention before you rush out and buy Drift. It grips into the blue grass and pop quality of Sister Hazel but somewhat disappointingly lacks the rock elements that I love so much. One song, “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” seems to preserve the heavy drum, guitar solo style, but for some reason it reminds me of Newsboys’ “The Breakfast Song.”

In the choral lyrics, Block lists the many distractions in our lives — news, internet, TV — and addresses the idea that we don’t really talk anymore. Though very true, the song came across more annoying than anything.

So now that I’ve listed my nit-picky remarks, you can rush out with the other Christmas shoppers because, I’ll say again, Drift is definitely an album worth getting. As Block says, the CD “is a place where the sun shines on wit, wisdom, and humor, and there’s an appreciation for clever sarcasm.”

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