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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fortress" definitely one of the best!
I currently have over 200 CD's and this is by far one of my top 3 Favorite CD's that I have. There is NOTHING that gets much better than Sister Hazel, and I'm a big techno music fan anyway.
1.)Change Your Mind-This is my #1 fav song in the whole entire world.
2.)Back Porch-37 second instrumental song-nice song to lead into number 3.
3.)Thank You- Another...
Published on July 15, 2000 by Zach

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid sophomore effort
I was greeting Ken Block after a recent show in Charlotte, NC when he asked me what I thought of the new CD. The question took me a little offguard (since I had been planning to ask him if anyone had pointed out that a million hours is actually 114 years...), but I quickly answered that I didnt like it as much as SMF. And I can say here that I honestly dont. There are...
Published on September 21, 2000 by Shane Pinson


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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fortress" definitely one of the best!, July 15, 2000
By 
Zach (Co Spgs, CO) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
I currently have over 200 CD's and this is by far one of my top 3 Favorite CD's that I have. There is NOTHING that gets much better than Sister Hazel, and I'm a big techno music fan anyway.
1.)Change Your Mind-This is my #1 fav song in the whole entire world.
2.)Back Porch-37 second instrumental song-nice song to lead into number 3.
3.)Thank You- Another Favorite of mine. Wonderful upbeat song.
4.)Champagne High-This song seems to be really popular although it is not one of my fav's. Still very good though.
5.)Beautiful Thing-Starts out with great guitar and kicks in to be a great song with awesome lyrics.
6.)Surreal-Catchy tune will get you singing along. Another Hit!
7.)Shame On Me-This one is a little bit slower that starts out with great electric guitars.
8.)Your Winter-May recognize this one from the "10 Things I Hate About You" soundtrack its a little bit slower and it has great lyrics.
9.)Strange Cup of Tea-I love the title and it's a great upbeat song. You will definitely love tihs one!
10.)Save Me-This song is really cool. It kinda sounds like an older 80's rock song.
11.)Give In-This is my 2nd or 3rd favorite. It is upbeat and very good.
12.)Out There-This song is slower and okay but not one of the best. It grows on you after you hear it a few times.
13.)Elvis-This song is really cool but It doesn't have really good lyrics like most of their songs do. Still worth a listen.
14.)Fortress-Slower song. This is really good and probably one of the best slow songs I've heard in a long time.
This is one of the best CD's you could buy for yourself even if your not the biggest Sister Hazel fan. If you enjoy good music period then I guarantee you will LOVE this CD. I love his voice, it is one of the best voices in music today and he can make it sound really cool when he slightly changes it in some of the songs. This CD is also an enhanced CD so pop it in your CD-ROM and enjoy. This CD is definitely 5 stars in my book. Take this winner home today and rock out!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even *I* like it, September 25, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
Let's get one thing straight up front: I don't like southern-fried rock. I was never big on Skynyrd or the Allmans or Hootie or anyone else other reviewers are comparing Sister Hazel to. I'm a 47-year-old geezer who grew up on prog acts like the "classic 7" Moody Blues and Peter Gabriel's Genesis, whose CD collection today is dominated by the likes of Mozart and Handel. No country boy me.

Okay? Okay. Now, about this CD: I don't get it. How did Sister Hazel escape superstardom? How on earth did "Fortress" slip past the Grammy people? I don't have many pop/rock CDs where I'd consider every track a keeper - count 'em on one hand you have enough fingers left over for a wide selection of rude gestures. But not only isn't there a bad track on "Fortress"; there's not even a mediocre one.

Why? Number one: the music is masterful. The tunes are at once melodic enough to hum but complex enough to tickle the brain. The musicianship - especially the guitar work - is not just good, it makes you *feel* good. If these guys aren't enjoying themselves, they're putting on a heckuvan act.

Number two: the lyrics are witty and intelligent. Not only that, they're fun. Given a microphone, many bands these days (like composers of grand opera before them) wallow in self-pity or throw what amount to brat-tizzies set to music. Not Sister Hazel. I'm struck by the upbeat, positive mood in most of the songs. Even the done-me-wrong downers are clever, and often, like "Elvis," funny... in a quirky, backhanded sort of way.

This is pick-me-up music all the way. It practically winks and grins at you out of the speakers. The playing and production are seamless. Put it on after a really bad day at work and watch how fast the world rights itself. Sister Hazel: Now I know where you are, I'm coming after you... or at least, after more of your albums.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The sophomore effort a good investment, July 2, 2000
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
Much thanks to Sister Hazel for remembering what exactly can be done with guitar, voice, and drums. Though not particularly innovative instrumentally, Fortress does offer significant appeal by reminding us why we like good ol' guitars, vocals, and drums by offsetting an overdone sound with underestimated talent.
Fronted by lead man Ken Block's distinctive, stingy baritone, the five-man group plays with tight harmonies and catchy counter melodies (especially powerful in Champagne High and Change Your Mind) to create a deep, intricate blend of refreshing chords. All of this on top of great guitar licks (in tracks like Surreal and Back Porch) that take a down-home acoustic feel and blend it with jangly, power rock. And yes, in Sister Hazel tradition, they throw in more than their fair share of surprise chord changes that accentuate the lyrics and rhythmic patterns that accentuate the music.
Also surprising is the detail in the songwriting, both lyrically and musically. Each of the five members of Sister Hazel contributes something, ensuring a fresh, varied sound. Not forgetting the catchiness of wordplay (consequence is inconsequential; it's over and I'm overwhelmed; leave no turn unstoned), the well-crafted lyrics weave in and out of the music, often breaking up lyrical phrases to keep musical ones.
Yet despite the lyrics, it's still evident these boys are about the music. They are never far from a deep string sound-be it with guitar (including classical), mandolin, violin, viola, and cello. Although with fourteen tracks, a few of the songs blend together, they do offer distinctive riffs and inventive sounds if the listener actually listens.
Though they were born from a generation of gritty vocals and clanging guitars, Sister Hazel manages to take the tired sound a step further through its responsible songwriting and conscientious musicality and create something fresh, interesting, and well worth the investment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great mix of soulful music and arena rock, December 8, 2003
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
Led by the amazing singer Ken Block, Sister Hazel is one of the most excellent bands active these days. Fortress has to be one of their best CD's.
The disc begins with "Change Your Mind," a delightful pop tune similar to "All For You (from Someone More Familiar) about being happy with who you are. Then comes "Back Porch," a neat little instrumental with some excellent guitar work." Other standouts include "Champagne High," a rousing duet with the lead singer of the Indigo Girls; "Your Winter," about the importance of forgiving someone; "Out Three," a terribly sad song about someone searching for and not finding his love; and "Elvis," a delightful oddity about a guy who is breaking up with his girlfriend and only wants his velvet Elvis back.
All in all, this is an excellent CD. Don't listen to Amazon, listen to the preview tracks and see what you think.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ryan Newell's Arrival, March 28, 2002
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
Let's be honest: Sister Hazel isn't a groundbreaking rock and roll band. They are the type of band who has found a niche in what they do, and that is writing power-pop/Southern rock songs. They mostly suceeed on "Fortress".
Ken Block's voice cuts through 13 of the 14 tracks on "Fortress".
A very talented vocalist and songwriter, his honesty and raw emotion is displayed for all to hear, from the lighthearted "Beautiful Thing", to the somewhat somber title track. "Champagne High" is a stunning achievement lyrically and in terms of the arrangment and vocal harmonies (kudos go out to Block, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Drew Copeland and the Indigo Girls' Emily Sailers for making the harmonies sound amazing well). You can hear and feel Block's pain when he sings "Well, I'll smile and remember it all/Then I'll turn and go". Copeland is a talented guy in his own right, as his song "Strange Cup of Tea" shows.
Vocal harmonies are a big part of the Sister Hazel sound. What separates Hazel from the pack, however, is lead guitarist Ryan Newell. Simply put, this guy can burn, and he's smart enough to know when not to overplay. Check out his melodic lead on "Champagne High", his slide-work on "Thank You" and "Fortress" , and his absolutely ripping lead work on "Beautiful Thing" (towards the end of his solo), "Strange Cup of Tea", and "Shame on Me". His rhythm work is also excellent; the first single, "Change Your Mind", has some great wah-wah'ed rhythm parts, and "Surreal" shows off his Southern-rock roots.
"Fortress" isn't flawless by any means, but it has a tremendous amount of cross-over appeal because although it is a pop album, Newell adds an edge that other bands of Hazel's genre lack: power. Block's melodic songwriting and Newell's ripping guitar are a great match.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, January 31, 2002
By 
Stew (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
This is one of those cd's that you pick up for one or two songs, and only listen to those songs over and over. Then you space out and let the cd run all the way through a few times, and you pick up a few more solid tunes, and some ok songs. Then you keep listening all the way through and realize that the "ok" songs are actually really good songs. By the end of it, you barely listen to the two songs you bought the cd for, and listen to the underplayed/never played songs. I am at that stage, and am so happy that I picked this cd up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid CD, August 12, 2000
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
This CD is one of those great cds that you can put in your car stereo and enjoy every track. This cd contains several great songs and several solid songs that can be enjoyed time and time again. By all means...enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great all around, June 12, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
I have had this CD for 6 years now, buying it from Amazon a few weeks after it came out. While I traditionally go for the slightly harder sounding bands (3 Doors Down, Nickelback, Shinedown, etc.), this album from Sister Hazel is one that I can put on and decompress to. I really enjoy the sound of "Change Your Mind", "Champagne High", "Out There", "Shame On Me", and a couple of other tunes, but the whole CD is pretty good. It is definately a step up from "Somewhere More Familiar", which I thought was good, too. They released a couple more discs since then, but really haven't given them a shot. Nonetheless, I would call myself a Sister Hazel fan based on the merits of this album alone. Good, easy listening rock for your speakers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the BEST Sister Hazel album, February 24, 2005
By 
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
I bought Sister Hazel's newest album, "Lift" because I wanted to go to a concert and found out they were playing near me. It was an impulse buy, but they had me hooked and by the time the concert came around, I had two more of their albums and they had risen to become one of my favorite bands. "Lift" is a good album, but Fortress is amazing. It's the best album so far from this awsome, talented band. I think the reason I like it so much is because it has more of a southern rock feel to it. It seems like one of the only albums that I can listen to straight-through anymore. "Change Your Mind" is a great opener, and "Back Porch" is short but never fails to bring a smile to my face. "Champange High" has beautiful lyrics and harmonies. "Beautiful Thing" is twangy and bouncy with a great hook. The best Sister Hazel song ever is "Strange Cup Of Tea", which can make you feel good any time of day.

If you liked any of the other Sister Hazel albums, or are buying your first, this is a great one. I have all their CD's, and each one is slightly different but still conveys what a great band Sister Hazel is. They are a band fueled by happiness, which is evident if you've seen them live. There will never be a band that can make me feel as good as Sister Hazel does.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars West Virginia Music Lover, June 23, 2004
This review is from: Fortress (Audio CD)
i just got the Fortress cd and the whole cd is great !! i just heard them about 3 or 4 days ago going thru music samples and i really liked them any one who likes the Allman Brothers Band and Lynard Skynard from the 1970's will love this album cause they put you in mind of them , i will definitly be buying more of their cd's !! to me the best song on the cd this the title song even tho all is good !!! 5 stars for this group !!
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Fortress
Fortress by Sister Hazel
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