This week, the eponymous debut CD from Arkansas-based trio Edens Edge hit store shelves and iTunes, offering a blend of bluegrass and modern country that is certain to put this young band on the map.
It appears that Edens Edge has been somewhat groomed for this moment for some time. Emerging, quite literally, from the country, the band was formed by members Hannah Blaylock, Cherill Green and Dean Berner, all of whom have deep roots in the farms of Arkansas. After winning a CMT-sponsored contest, they wound up on the radar of established country songwriter Kye Fleming (“I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”), who took the band under her wing and persuaded them to move to Nashville. Since that time, Edens Edge has toured with the likes of Lady Antebellum, Reba and Brad Paisley, and scored a Top 20 hit (“Amen”)—all before this record was even released.
Indeed, this band has a lot going for it, and the debut record shows it. They have managed to hone their sound into a radio-friendly country vibe while retaining enough bluegrass to make it sound authentic. And while the harmonies are abundant throughout the record, the lead vocals of Hannah Blaylock are among the band’s greatest assets; she could easily stand on her own as a solo artist. That’s not to say that all the talent lies with Blaylock–not by a long shot. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Cherill Green can certainly hold her own, and on the video embedded below you’ll hear a dobro solo by Dean Berner that’ll knock your socks off. There can be little doubt that this band isn’t a stepping stone for any of the members; they belong together.
That being said, it’s also apparent that Edens Edge is young, still evolving, and perhaps still a bit unsure of who they will be as a band. The track list, for example, shows a real dichotomy between the church and the pub, so to speak. All band members have deep church roots, and references to faith on songs like “Christ Alone” and even “Amen” sound legitimate enough; but then you have flirty drinking songs like “Who Am I Drinking Tonight”—and “Skinny Dippin’” is simply scandalous. It almost comes across like the band is trying on different sets of outfits on the record, and some fit better than others.
Critiques aside, Edens Edge is a band that I believe could easily join up-and-comers like The Band Perry in moving country music forward as a genre. They are easy on the ears and bring a smile to my face. This is a band I’ll be watching with great interest in the days to come.