June 27, 2012 at 11:54 am , by Ron Kelly
Edens Edge members Cherrill Green, Hannah Blaylock and Dean Berner might not be related by blood, but the talented trio from Arkansas certainly have made their Nashville journey—and recent successes—a family affair. “This morning, Dean’s mother texted all of us and told us we’re on Editor’s Choice on iTunes,” lead singer Blaylock told me during the band’s visit to LHJ last week. “And then she sent me the sweetest text the day our album was released. It was so beautiful. All three of our parents give encouragement not only to their child, but to all three of us. We’re all each other’s parents’ kids.”
And when Green brings her 2-year-old nephew to their shows? “He’s like our nephew,” Blaylock says. “We’re all so excited. He plays football with us. He’s the coolest kid!” And he also happens to have great taste in music. “He’s constantly having my dad pull up YouTube videos of us,” Green reports. “He sings ‘Amen’ and he does Hannah’s hand motions to it while he’s watching. He calls Hannah and Dean ‘Anna and Beans,’ and he has a little ukulele that he plays. He’ll flip it like a dobro and play it like Dean does. He’s already showing lots of musical aspirations.”
Luckily for the little guy, he’s chosen some talented role models. The band’s self-titled debut CD brilliantly blends traditional country and bluegrass influences with today’s more modern Nashville sound. The result is a winning collection of uniquely fresh-sounding songs. With harmonies and strong musicianship from Green (mandolin and bouzouki) and Berner (acoustic guitar, dobro, lap steel) behind her throughout, Blaylock’s versatile vocals are irresistible, effortlessly shifting from sounding like a down-home sweetheart on “Amen” to letting you hear her mischievous grin on the playful teaser “Skinny Dippin’.” She oozes vulnerability on the stellar breakup song “Last Supper” then boldly bellies up to the musical bar and wails away on the raucous “Who Am I Drinking Tonight,” making it clear there’s no vocal territory she won’t tackle. The CD’s final track, “Christ Alone,” puts the trio’s harmonies front and center and they are nothing short of heavenly. (Insider tip: To get three excellent bonus tracks, be sure to get the Edens Edge Deluxe Edition, available exclusively at Cracker Barrel.)
On a brief break from playing on the Rascal Flatts’ Changed tour, the band kindly popped by the LHJ offices to chat with me and treat us to a stripped-down set of songs, including their current single, “Too Good to Be True.” More than one staffer left fighting tears after the last song, “Cherry Pie”, so be warned when you watch it after the jump!
You guys have an opening spot on the Rascal Flatts “Changed” tour, which has just started. How’s it going so far?
Hannah: The production is breathtaking, the stage is beautiful and the show is so captivating. It really does take my breath away. And we’re going to learn so much so we’re very, very thankful. And everyone on the tour is so wonderful, nice and welcoming, which means the world to us. Rascal Flatts’ fans are incredible and country music fans are the best fans in the world. Being an opener, we’re on when there’s still daylight outside but those people out there are so unaffected by it. They’re just there to have a good time and hear music.
Dean: This is our first tour on the main stage with a full band, so it’s a big step for us. The first show, you’re just kind of going out there and trying not to trip on the stage. By the second show I found myself getting a lot more used to it. I felt like we all got into the groove a lot more. It’s really a fun thing to feel our band locking in together, to feel all the production elements coming together and the three of us really getting into the performance.
You’ve been on some high-profile tours with the likes of Brad Paisley, Reba, Lady Antebellum and now Rascal Flatts. What have you found were your biggest misconceptions about what it was like to be on a big tour?
Cherrill: I think one of mine was that people get rest. (laughs) We’re blessed to be in country and I think it’s interesting just to see how welcoming the country music world is to new artists. The big A-list artists are just really sweet, so I think that was really refreshing.
Hannah: I didn’t know the level of, like, not rest that there would be. I knew that it was not glamorous. Behind the scenes is not glamorous. The only kind of glamour that you see is actually onstage. (laughs)
Cherrill: And those are the moments that keep you wanting to do it.
Hannah: They are! At this level in our career, we travel 12 hours for a 30-minute set. And that keeps us going, those 30 minutes. I don’t know that the people out there realize how much of a blessing they are to us. They’re the reason we continue to do what we do—literally the only reason, because we could be playing music on our back porches. And we would be if we weren’t doing this.
Continue on after the jump to watch Edens Edge’s LHJ musical performance and to find out their real-life “Too Good to Be True” stories, complete with exclusive photos! Plus, Dean tells us the important life lessons Hannah and Cherrill have taught him and the trio share a list of artists who they’d love to collaborate with on a CMT Crossroads special.