Hanna-McEuen’s self-titled debut album hits the stores today, August 16, 2005. Hanna-McEuen will host their album release party at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Be sure to catch Hanna-McEuen on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, August 18. Click here to hear songs from the album, watch the music video and interview, view photos, and more. Hanna-McEuen’s members are prodigies as well as second generation musicians. Jaime Hanna on guitar/vocals (son of Jeff Hanna – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Jonathan McEuen on guitar/vocals (son of John McEuen ‘ Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Jesse Siebenberg on drums (son of Supertramp drummer Bob Siebenberg) and bass player T.J. Russell (son of Leon Russell).
Plenty of rock influence informs this sparking debut by cousins Jaime Hanna and Jonathan McEuen, whose fathers were founding members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and married the twin sisters who mothered this duo. With the twang of dual guitars and the blood ties of tight harmonies, Hanna-McEuen put their artistic imprint on consistently solid material that evokes the bittersweet balladry of the Eagles (“Read Between the Lines”), the romantic ache of Bruce Springsteen (“Something Like a Broken Heart”), the sing-song purity of Buddy Holly (“End of Me”), and the bittersweet buoyancy of the Everly Brothers (“Rock and a Heartache”). Though the rootsier, banjo-driven “Wild Eyes of Love” sounds closer in spirit to their dads’ band, Hanna-McEuen suggests that the gap between classic rock and contemporary country has never been narrower. –Don McLeese
Americana radio will certainly eat this up, and hopefully country radio will also open its arms and welcome the fresh, new and vibrant sound of Hanna-McEuen. These two multi-talented guys have a fine pedigree as their fathers are Jeff Hanna and John McEuen of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame. They are also first cousins who share a close harmony, similar to the Everly Brothers, in all they sing. Musically the duo is in the cool category once reserved for such acts as Foster & Lloyd and the Mavericks. Their eponymously titled debut disc is a near-perfect showcase for these singer-songwriters with sharp, hook-filled songwriting (mostly from Hanna’s pen), excellent instrumental work (both are accomplished guitarists) and sparkling production courtesy of James Stroud and the boys. Things kick-off with “Fool Around,” a Buck Owens-styled toe-tapper before segueing into “Blue Sunrise,” a dark ballad with ominous electric twang that would make Chris Isaak proud. The bittersweet uptempo tune “Something Like a Broken Heart” was co-written by the Mavericks’ Robert Reynolds and seems a likely candidate for lead single. But the Mavs’ influence seems even more evident on the percolating cumbia rhythm of “End Of Me.” The pensive “Is It Only Me” has the rhythmic feel of Simon & Garfunkel’s “El Candor Pasa” and features an exquisite nylon string guitar solo. These guys are wont to wear their influences on their sleeves. A ringing 12-string guitar sound can be found on the haunting Byrds-like minor key masterpiece “Someone Else.” A retro-Sixties feel surfaces on “Tell Me” with its Beatles-ish “She’s A Woman” arrangement. The introspective ballad “Ocean” closes the album on a hope-filled note with McEuen on lead vocals. The lushly orchestrated number is proving a concert fave and could well be the song to help this act cross over. Hands down, best debut album of the year. –Ron Young
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