Sister Hazel Talks Tom Petty Influence + Series of New EPs

Sister Hazel_porch2clean.jpg

“It's hard to say what it is I see in you
Wonder if I'll always be with you
But words can't say, And I can't do
Enough to prove,
It's all for you.”

‘90s babies will surely remember the 1997 chart-topping hit “All For You” from platinum-selling Gainesville, FL band Sister Hazel. Two decades later, the group is still going strong, being hailed as "one of the Top 100 Most Influential Independent Performers of the last 15 years" by Performing Songwriter Magazine and making the switch from rock to country music.

Among a slew of accolades over the past 20 years, in 2018 alone, they made their debut at the Grande Ole Opry; Water, Volume I of their collectible compilation series titled Elements, hit No. 9 on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart and No. 2 on Billboard’s Independent Albums chart; and Wind, Volume II of that series debuted at No. 1 on iTunes, at No. 11 on Billboard’s Independent Chart, at No. 16 on Billboard’s Americana/Folk Chart, and at No. 5 on Billboard’s Country Album Sales chart.

Sister Hazel also actively gives back through Lyrics For Life, a charity founded by singer Ken Block that brings together musicians and celebrities for concerts and auctions to benefit cancer research and patient-care charities.

Fresh off the release of their latest EP Wind, Andrew Copeland talked to Musical Notes Global all about how fellow Gainesville band Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers have influenced Sister Hazel’s music and gave us the scoop on their series of new EPs. Check out the interview below.

What are the band's top five Tom Petty Songs?

Well, I can’t really speak for the entire band but mine would be: 

“Even the Losers”

“American Girl”

“Don’t Do Me Like That”

“Here Comes My Girl”

“The Waiting”

“Listen To Her Heart”

Yes, I know that’s six but I couldn’t narrow it down to just five.


As a musician and band also from Gainesville, FL, what does Tom Petty's legacy mean to you?

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ legacy means the world to us. It was the soundtrack of my life growing up and I always took great pride in knowing that Tom and the boys came from Gainesville. I love the fact that occasionally we are mentioned in the same context as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers for being a successful band out of Gainesville, Florida.


How big of an influence was he on your career? 

Tom’s song writing and that band are a huge influence on me musically. I can only dream of writing a song so carefully crafted that it sounds simple yet delivers a powerful impact.


The band did a Tom Petty tribute at the recent Lyrics for Life benefit held in Gainesville. What was that like and how did the crowd react?

At our Lyrics for Life event we did a small tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The crowd loved it and so did I. The highlight for me was having Stan Lynch, who is also a very dear friend, join us on stage. We actually started the set with Stan on acoustic guitar, Ryan on electric guitar, and me singing. We did a cool version of “Listen to Her Heart” and halfway through the song Stan made his way back to the drums and finished the song from behind the kit. It literally brought me to tears!

Sister Hazel Playing at Lyrics for Life

Sister Hazel Playing at Lyrics for Life

Did you ever have the chance to meet and talk with him or play a show together?

Sadly, I never did get a chance to actually meet Tom Petty or to play with their band. That is definitely a bucket list item that I’ll never get to achieve. It honestly breaks my heart.


Tell us a little about your series of EPs? When will be the next one released?

This series of EPs was kind of a brain child of our bassist, Jett Beres. I love the way these EPs are tied together and the pace in which we are putting them out. I’m not exactly sure when the next one will be released, but I can tell you it’s already recorded.


At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?

At the end of the day I just feel extremely blessed that people have connected with our music for as long as they have. We continue to try to write honest songs and hope that it has a positive impact on people. I’m just extremely thankful to our fans to still have a gig.

Stream Wind below.

For all of Sister Hazel’s latest news and updates, follow them on social media:


Instagram: @sisterhazelband

Twitter: @SisterHazelBand