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Hazzard @ Country Fever/Red Dirt Fever

Pryor, Oklahoma, USA

Pryor, Oklahoma, USA

Hazzard @ White Elephant Saloon

Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Hazzard @ Rockett Cafe & Club

Rockett, Texas, USA

Rockett, Texas, USA

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The new album from the guys of Hazzard is due out in January! (Tommy Detamore and Jason Boland co-produced it.) The first single is called, "At It Again," and is available on their website and MySpace pages. Check it out! www.myspace.com/hazzardweb or www.hazzardweb.com.

- Katie Key - Texas Music Chart (Key Notes)

I hear there is an emerging band on the scene we all need to know about called Hazzard. The lead singer/fiddler is Dana Hazzard, one of the original Stragglers with Jason Boland. He was also with JB in the famous car wreck that totaled the bands beloved Suburban known as "Big Iron". From what I hear, Hazzard will be in the studio next month crafting their debut album with Tommy Detamore and Jason Boland producing, with the release to follow shortly thereafter. Check them out on the web at: www.hazzardweb.com or www.myspace.com/hazzardweb.

- Katie Key - Texas Music Chart (Key Notes)

Dana Hazzard is the last of his kind, the final singer-songwriter to emerge from a crew that, in the late '90s, resided in a funky old two-story building on University Circle in Stillwater. Such current Red Dirt music stars as Cody Canada, Jason Boland and Stoney LaRue occupied the place, dubbed the "Yellow House."

"It's still standing, but some frat guys live there now," notes Hazzard with a chuckle. "It's a lot nicer than it was when we had it."

During his time in the Yellow House, Hazzard was the fiddler for Boland's band, the Stragglers, which even then was spending a lot of hard time on the road. "I never really focused on songwriting, because I always liked to play so much," he recalls. "Boland was the one who first said, 'You've got something more going on than just being a fiddle player.' I'd never fancied myself as a songwriter."

Boland made that observation as Hazzard was going out the Yellow House door, having decided to take a hiatus from the music business. For the next several years, playing became his avocation rather than a living. He and his brother, guitarist-vocalist Mark LeMond, would travel to bluegrass festivals on the weekends and jam around campfires with friends - "strictly for fun," Hazzard notes.

But ultimately, the two picked up guitarist Christian Dean, bassist Matt Murphy and drummer Jamie Dotson - all of whom draw raves from Hazzard - and a band carrying its founder's last name was born.

Now, Hazzard - the band - has seen the release of its first CD, Choices, with the debut single, At It Again, hitting the official Texas Music Chart. The music is hard, uncompromising country, and the lyrics show that Boland's advice to his fiddle player was right. (Boland, in fact, co-produced Choices with veteran Texas music figure Tommy Detamore.)

Directly out of the classic-country tradition' songs like Christmas in Huntsville, If You Were A Bottle and I Don't Blame My Woman (in which the singer catches his woman in the arms of another woman) are so tough and cooly emotional that the listener doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. Like most music from the Red Dirt school, the lyrics are real, earthy and close to the bone.

"I believe that for the last 15 or 20 years, country music has, for lack of a better word, just been going to hell," Hazzard says. "A lot of the stuff that comes out of Nashville just isn't reality. It's about marrying your high school sweetheart. It never talks about money problems. But most people are living paycheck to paycheck, and if they had a great love, it probably got away."

Choices, distributed nationally by Smith Entertainment, is not just for those folks, but for anyone who remembers when country music was so intimate and honest that it could make you blush. Retro only in its attitude, the disc signals the emergence of a band that could, and ought to, be a big part of country music's future.

-John Wooley
- Oklahoma Magazine

In the music business, there’s no such thing as a get rich quick scheme. The stories of overnight success, though charming, occur about as frequently as a hole in one at a major golf event. Though when history and experience get together to create something altogether new, the results can be exceptional in a relatively short amount of time. Or in Hazzard’s case, you can write and arrange an album’s worth of the best Red Dirt Roots-Rock in about 90 days.

Hazzard is the latest installment of Oklahoma’s unique ideals and culture set to music and has over 120 years of onstage experience to back it up. The roster is equivalent to one of the best bullpen’s in the major leagues – lead vocalist/guitarist/fiddler Dana Hazzard, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Mark LeMond, lead guitarist Christian Dean, bassist Matt Murphy and drummer Jamie Dotson.

Dana, Matt and Jamie began rehearsing and putting material together in January of this year, a time that was clouded with personal conflict inside the guy who’s last name is directly tied to the band. "I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had thoughts about moving to Austin or back to Stillwater. But then I started jamming with Jamie and Matt, and I knew I was in the middle of something that could be really good."

With the addition of Mark and Chris, Hazzard began their voyage with a St. Patrick’s Day gig and from the moment they struck the first chord, these guys have been bound in brotherhood. Their emotional, lyrically driven mix of Red Dirt ballads, Allman-esque jams and honest to goodness Country songs have put these five guys in the bright spotlight, not just the guy with the last name. "I have the least say so in this band," comments Hazzard, "But each one of us would say that. We all get behind one another because we’ve all been there and done that, and paid our dues. It’s a great family to be a part of."

It’s a family with a lot of accolades and experience in the entertainment industry. "If it wasn’t for Jason Boland, I wouldn’t be doing this. He told me to quit fiddling on the side and to start fronting my own songs," Hazzard said. In addition to being one of the original Stragglers, Hazzard’s worked the stage with Corey Morrow, Pat Green, Stoney LaRue, Cody Canada, and even hit the big stages with the likes of Asleep at the Wheel and Willie Nelson. Like everybody else in the band, he’s also spent a majority of his life picking and grinning with local legends like Bill Morgan, Bobby Trapp, Jimmy Giles and Randy Crouch.

Mark LeMond is more than a rhythm guitar player and no frills designated driver, he’s got a powerful voice capable of reaching every end of the vocal spectrum. This harmony hunter put more than his chops on the line, serving our country in Operation Desert Storm in the early 90s, and to this day bleeds red, white and blue. His love for his country is parallel to his love for music. "I couldn’t be playing music with a better bunch of guys," said LeMond and everybody in the band agrees that LeMond fills out the sound in an irreplaceable way.

Christian Dean sports the last name of a guitar for a reason and Roger Ray of The Stragglers knows why – "He’s a guitar god." Though he’s the only out-of-stater in the band (Dean lives in Arkansas,) he’s spent many hungry nights on the road with Exit 81, a band that saw regional success around the same time a guy named Garth Brooks was getting some attention. Dean also can accredit his monster guitar playing to influences like Kent Walker, D.B. Cooper and Waylon Jennings, whom he got to open up for in Ft. Smith many moons ago.

Matt Murphy is the gentle giant of the band responsible for handling the rumbling low end of the band, a duty he’s also fulfilled with his most recent project, Murphy’s Lawmen. Murphy also dropped bass bombs for Iron Horse and Thunder Road, and learned more about what the life on the road was like while supporting Charlie Johnson full time.

Time keeper Jamie Dotson was also a part of Murphy’s Lawmen, which explains why this rhythm section is rock solid, and allows for the three guitarists in the band to take it to the limits. "If it wasn’t for Leslie Ruckman, I wouldn’t be playing anything," said the soft spoken drummer. Dotson has also filled the rhythm pocket for the old-timey Gospel band Mixed Company, as well as The Third Shift Band.

So the right ingredients are in place for Hazzard – positive attitudes, decades of musical knowledge, an effective management team. They even have a tour bus complete with a stripper pole, though the dimensions of the beam are only suitable for the vertically challenged.

This summer, the guys will be hitting clubs and dance halls big and small giving you more to dance about than your legs will know what to do with. When they don’t have obligations though, don’t be surprised to find yourself partying with these five friends. "We’re all about supporting the Red Dirt Rangers, Jason Boland, No Justice and all of our Red Dirt brothers and sisters," said LeMond. "And we like to party whether we’re onstage or not."

In late summer and early fall, Hazzard will take a bag full of songs into the studio for legendary producer Lloyd Maines to sort out. Maines dealt Hazzard one of the heaviest comments to date after hearing their demo; "If I can’t produce it, I wanna play steel on it." You can look for Hazzard’s debut album by the end of 2007 and in the meantime, you can enjoy this hypnotic, heart warming, hillbilly band all summer long at a venue near you.

If you’re into good Oklahoma music, this band will be one of your favorites by Thanksgiving. Like brother Bill Morgan said, "Do yourself a favor – get out and hear them boys!" Check out their audio and visual delights online at www.hazzardweb.com and/or at www.myspace.com/hazzardweb.

- Joe Mack - The Current

As is common with most bands, Hazzard was influenced by their families early on and they each caught the "bug" to begin playing.

But what isn't common is to be together for only about four months and already have the cohesiveness and tightness that Hazzard does.

"Collectively, we have 120 years of musical experience," said Mark LeMond, rhythm guitar and vocals. "All the members of the band are excellent musicians."

They will occasionally do a classic cover like Merle Haggard, but they are an original band and want to do their own songs and don't understand why bands want to cover other artists' music.

"Anybody that's done this for any length of time, they don't want to to go in there and cover George Strait or Tim McGraw or anything like that," said Dana Hazzard, guitar, lead vocals.

As it goes with original music, you are basically exposing your thoughts and experiences to the world and hope they respond to it.

"Our music pretty much makes people think. Makes you think about anything, think about the government, think about yourself, whatever the subject is, because most people live in the grey. Everything is not always black and white," said Hazzard. "A lot of people in the same genre as us, it's really a songwriter's music. I just think that because we do most of the stuff that we do, everybody in the world can relate to it."

Everybody in the band writes songs.

"Musically, each person expresses the song in their own way instead of any one person dictating how you would play it or what style or whatever," said LeMond.

Being able to capture the listener with a musical style can be infectious and gratifying.

"A good song evokes emotion.I don't care if it makes you mad, makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you cuss, whatever it is, it evokes some kind of emotion, then it's a good song," said Hazzard.

Hazzard recalls a woman who came up to him after a particular song and said, "That song just tore me up," which for Hazzard pretty much says it all, he said.

Sometimes, all it takes is for there to be some connection between artist and listener, to establish a rapport.

"What we'd like people to know is that we've experienced the things that they're experiencing and that we're basically like everybody else," said LeMond.

The humor and comraderie of the band is evident.

"We just want to to touch everybody," drummer, Jamie Dotson says. "Well, not literally."

Their songs may not necessarily tell a story but they'll tell an experience.

"Anybody that's ever raised a daughter, been divorced, anything like that, you can garner something from it because we sing about all of it. You can sing a song about a spare tire and make it a decent song. It's not just about throwing a bunch of words out there; there has to be a destination," said Hazzard.

The band writes songs that are important to them and have meaning to them.

"We don't write with selling a bunch of records in mind. I think it's more important to convey the emotion or experience that you're trying to put into words and music. Ultimately, like Dana said earlier, what means a lot to us is when somebody listens to it and says, 'man, I felt just like that or I lived that experience,"' said LeMond. "We don't have any kind of formula that we use like a lot of people in Nashville do to produce a hit. If it doesn't mean something, then it doesn't come to life."

The fact that they are all close and respect each other counts for a lot.

"We all get along, we all have the same goals, no BS. We're here for one reason and that's to make this band successful. And if you call on somebody five states away, you can count that they're on the way to come get you if you're in trouble. That goes a long way in my book," said Christian Dean, lead guitar and vocals.

They are also not in competition with other bands in their genre.

"We really believe in supporting our brother bands, other bands within the genre. And when we're not playing somewhere, if one of the other bands are playing, then we'll generally go to see their show and support their efforts and they do the same for us," said LeMond.

- Jane Wilson - OK Weekend

Sometimes potential greatness is recognized almost instantly. To us old timers, that’s the way it was the night we first saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. And that’s the feeling one might get when first hearing the unabashed, driving sound of HAZZARD, the latest electrified alternative country band to rise over the horizon into the swirling Red Dirt league of Oklahoma musicians.

The group headlines a Saturday night Memorial Day music show, May 26, at Roxie’s Roost along with Tuff Profit, Cold Shot and local rock-folk legend Randy Crouch.

Some bands can attribute their success to a single member, not so with these guys. With HAZZARD, the greatness is first compartmentalized and then melded together into a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Laying down the foundation for the original songs penned by bandleader Dana Hazzard, drummer Jamie Dotson and bassist Matt Murphy cooperate to offer up an oh-so-solid beat and bottom to the songs—a bottom as classic as the signature sound of Waylon Jennings. It’s bass, it’s precise, and it’s big. It’s sometimes Spartan, always awesome.

(Out of curiosity, the band was asked to total up their performance history before this band emerged: 120 years. They are dedicated to their music, all having paid their dues in other bands before HAZZARD came together in the Cookson Hills about five minutes from the water of Lake Tenkiller.)

The meat and potatoes—the main course—of HAZZARD is the “brother harmony” of Hazzard and his younger brother, Mark LeMond. Hazzard shares lead duties on his Telecaster with LeMond tastefully filling in the background of his sibling’s hauntingly truthful original songs with an electric-acoustic.

(In recent years, Hazzard has been best known for his sweet, on-point fiddle work with the starpower band Jason Boland and the Stragglers while LeMond has concentrated on his five-string banjo in the bluegrass scene.) To say their talent is multi-dimensional is to mention the understated obvious.)

Hazzard trades the fiddle for his very competent lead guitar continuously, concentrating on his original tunes, but giving tribute coverage to great songwriters such as Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Russell.

The icing on the musical cake offered by HAZZARD unarguably is the boiling lead guitar of Christian Dean, a Russellville, Arkansas native who traveled the scene in several bands before fortune connected him to this group. Local music fans who hear Dean perform probably will be reminded—dare we say it—of the musical legacy left by the late Sparky Fisher. It’s just that good.

The keystone of HAZZARD is the power and strength with which every song is delivered coupled with the timeless truths one recognizes in their songs.

“All of my songs are about things that have happened to us in our lives, and I think the audience recognizes that. They’re about 90 percent truth and 10 percent lies. You throw the lies in to make them rhyme.,” Hazzard offers wittingly.

So what more could a group want? Solid, attention-grabbing lyrics delivered with an in-your-face tempo and plenty of volume? Lead guitar licks pushing the limits of alternative country, Red Dirt music? Well, what most bands really need, besides talent, is the financial backing to get their music out in front of regional and national fans.

Enter a business manager who believed in HAZZARD the first time he heard them play and who has been successful enough in other ventures to offer the musicians a salary, buy them a Silver Eagle touring bus and arrange for Grammy-winning record producer Lloyd Maines to produce their first album in Austin. (If the name sounds familiar, Maines is the father of Dixie Chick Natalie Maines.)

To secure Lloyd Maines as producer of your album is to sign on with a musician/producer that has been involved at some level in nearly all of the recent successes from the Austin, Texas music scene, a venue that Hazzard has frequented as often as possible. A student of fiddle wizard Mark O’Conner, Hazzard tries to expose himself to the greats of the industry, a path that appears to be bearing fruit judging from product he delivers today.

The business manager chooses to remain nameless because, as he sees it, “this band is not about the business manager, it’s about HAZZARD and their talent and how these crowds are reacting to them. These guys are going to be a force in this region and, with the contacts we’re establishing, I believe they’ll appear on the national music scene. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be investing in them.”

Hazzard agrees. Success is not about the management of the band. And, he goes a step farther. He says it’s not just about the talent the band brings to the stage.

“There is more at work here than just us. If God intends us to be a success, we will be. We join hands and have a prayer before every show and ask that we may be able to sing one thing that might touch the heart of just one person,” Hazzard confides.

“We’re not preachers, just musicians who have walked both sides of the path. But, the preachers aren’t in the honky-tonk and we are. Maybe we can say something that’ll make someone look to the way they’re living and effect some change. I hope so.”

For tickets to the Memorial Day show, call (918) 458-1100. For more information about HAZZARD, log on to www.HazzardWeb.com.

- Dan Garber - Tahlequah Daily Press

Whenever good people make good music, one almost expects the end result to be, well, good. But the five guys from Oklahoma’s own Hazzard took this expectation of good + good = good and went above and beyond that protocol for their debut release, Choices.

Choices sounds like a fourth or fifth release from a band that’s been together for 10 years and just hit full stride after swapping gigs with the likes of George Strait and Willie Nelson, not a first time effort. Maybe it’s the song titles like “She Don’t Ask Questions Anymore” and “Choices” that make it sound like this band has been there and done that, but truth be told (as it is throughout the album,) guitarist/frontman Dana Hazzard, bassist Matt Murphy, guitarist Mark LeMond, lead guitarist Christian Dean and drummer Jamie Dotson have decades of performance and songwriting experience together and in previous bands.

It doesn’t hurt this debut effort at all that it was produced by Texas legend Tommy Detamore and Red Dirt kingpin Jason Boland either, making it a record you can scoot boots to or drink a cold beer to on any given week night. Lloyd Maines loves Choices so much that he proclaimed, “If I can’t produce it, I wanna play steel (guitar) on it.”

Red Dirt and Okie music aficionados need to add Hazzard’s first round to their CD collections right away, and can do so at www.hazzardweb.com.

-Jeff Jeffries - The Current


Choices (January 2008)
Produced by Tommy Detamore and co-produced by Jason Boland at Cherry Ridge Studio, Floresville, Texas



Country Music As It Was Meant To Be

Refreshing indeed. With help from powerhouse band, Hazzard, singer/songwriter Dana Hazzard pens the final chapter of Yellow House history with unsurpassed maturity, insight, and that old-school country groove. A familiar face from the Stillwater-based abode that was once home to Red Dirt music demi-gods Cody Canada, Jason Boland, and Stoney LaRue, this one-time Straggler's recent effort makes a welcome u-turn to country music's roots with thought-provoking lyrics, masterful melodies, and solid-gold harmony.