Here we are friends. We’ve made it. We’ve finally made it. It has been so much fun sharing this new music with you hearing all of your favorites and reactions. Keep the messages coming! They literally make my life. To everyone that came to the record release show, THANK YOU for literally being a ball of light and love to get to sing these songs in full form to for the first time. I couldn’t have dreamt up a more perfect evening.
I know I have said it literally a thousand times but thank you again for all of your support and encouragement through the journey of making this record.
Thank you’s are so very important to me and it has taken SO many people’s help and sacrifice to make all this happen. So I wanted to highlight the thank you section that will be on the record as well as all the songwriters that were gracious enough to write these songs with me.
So excited to see where this record takes us and the growth it will have. Thanks for spreading the world y’all! All the love in the world to each and every one of you <3<3<3<3<3
1. BANDIT QUEEN- Frank Romano/Hannah Blaylock
2. HEATWAVE- Martin Strayer/Emily Robison/Hannah Blaylock
3. LOVE ME WILD- Randy Montana/Hannah Blaylock
4. SHOULD’VE BEEN- Autumn McEntire/Alyssa Bonagura/Hannah Blaylock
5. IF I COULD DRINK TIME- Sarah Emily Barrios/Hannah Blaylock
6. BULLET- Emily Robison/Martin Strayer/Hannah Blaylock
7. GOOD SOLDIER’S WIFE- Billy Montana/Jon Stone/Hannah Blaylock
8. SMALLTOWN BIG SHOT- Phil Barton/Hannah Blaylock
9. GOOD FOR ME- Cliff Audretch/Autumn McEntire/Hannah Blaylock
10. FENCES- Brandon Hood/Jeffrey Steele/Hannah Blaylock
THANK YOU Songwriters – who wrote these beauty song babies and so many more with me. Martin Strayer – for writing, playing, producing, advising, supporting and believing in me and asking nothing in return. Emily Robison – for being a hero worth looking up to and so much more. Marti McGuire – for doing the same and for your insane generosity. The Players on the record that dove into the depths to create something special as if it were your own. Kenny MacPherson and Big Deal Music – your funding and involvement has been vital and I thank you. All the patient Supporters and Believers that haven’t give up on me – I’m in awe of you. Autumn McEntire Sizemore- for being the first person to jump and stay on this crazy train into the unknown- you are a true talent and a truer friend. Toby Gilbert, Chris Burke, Jason Jenkins, and Matt Niehoff – for being my people and giving your genuine loyalty, sacrifice and insane amounts of hard work. My Family – for your unwavering love and support in every way possible. All my Friends – I cherish you endlessly and don’t deserve you. My husband Justin – for doing whatever it took so I could keep making music. I know what it feels like to be known and truly loved in this life because of you. You are my greatest gift – If I don’t do nothing else . Lastly, to THE BANDIT QUEEN, for showing me how to be brave.
It’s funny…. emotionally I’m kind of overwhelmingly stunned right now. And being an emo person I didn’t expect to feel this way…. But I so do. It’s a very humbling and grateful feeling all at the same time to truly know that you are undeserving of the blessings you have been given. I can honestly say I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that more intensely than right now.
I have waited for a very long time for today. In such a real way, I can’t believe that it’s finally here.
I was faced with a very hard decision at 24 years old that held my life’s work, investment and identity in one hand and uncertainty and a hope for something greater in the other. I chose the latter and it’s been an interesting journey to say the least. I feel like I chose the jungle path instead of the pebbled one. And being in the music business already, it’s not like the pebbled path is smooth road (haha). You could also say it took me from a 5 lane freeway life to bush hogging my own path. As far as my consciousness of understanding the value of why we are here is concerned, I highly recommend the jungle. I’ll warn you it isn’t sunshine and butterflies. It’s vulnerable and challenging. It’s VERY humbling and forces you to face the good bad and uglier about yourself. It also puts you in circumstances where you have to choose your gut or you’d really be lost. It requires you to give and to receive on a whole new level. It’s very freeing. It’s very honest and genuine too and makes it easier to fearlessly choose that everyday. And its got my vote easily over glitz and social acceptable every time. Just so you know :).
I have to say- all this bush hogging revealed some pretty insane surprises. I got to know the value of being surrounded by true genuine friends and loved ones. I got to test and prove the strength of love and marriage. I got to cross and actually get to see the country twice going on many amazing gypsy adventures. I got to learn endless lessons and have epic experiences with INSANE songwriters in Nashville, Los Angeles and in between. I got to meet my #1 heroes. Not only that, I got to receive a gift of a lifetime from them and say yes and thank you to the opportunity of making my debut solo album. And I got to share making this album and seeing it to its completion with all of you.
THERE’S A 10TH SONG ON MY RECORD- “Fences”
THAT————THAT WAS YOU.
There’s no way to tell you how much. I am trusting you know in some way how much so I won’t go mad. “Fences” is alive and out in the world. YOU made that happen when no one else could. You supported art and music when it needed you- I’m so thankful and lucky to be connected to that inspiration and support in any way.
I owe any ounce of gumption in me to my parents- I hope I give my kids half the springboard you gave me into life Mom and Dad. I love you. Thank you for teaching me the good stuff and the value of it.
I hope you enjoy my expression of the last 4 years of my journey as a country singer/songwriter and performer. This is “Bandit Queen”. May her story inspire you to kick ass at yours.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for making it possible to hit our goal to complete the album. Because of you and so many others, this album will get to be shared to the world within the month to its full completion. As one of a thousand thank you’s, I wanted to give you the link to download the single NOW for free (YAY!).
The first single and title track of the record is called “Bandit Queen” as I’m sure you’ve seen. I wrote this song with my dear friend and amazing songwriter/guitarist Frank Romano. Frank and I were set up to write at his house in East Nashville one day. I knew it was going to be a fun day because he insisted I bring Emmylou, my dog, with me. It was our first time writing together that day on October 21st, 2014. I walked in and he immediately started showing me these amazing track options he made for us to write to. He was flipping through the options when he played this badass gritty groove that sent me on a journey.
I had been watching these TV shows like, Sons of Anarchy and Game of Thrones, that were filled with what they call the “antihero”. I loved the realness of the characters (much like the rest of the world). It was so refreshing to see a their flaws and vulnerabilities so revealed on these shows, unlike the styles of the past where the good guy is perfect and the bad guy has no redeeming qualities. This antihero style of writing and film was inspiring to me because not only did it, in some weird way, aid and inspire self acceptance, it was so fun transforming and creating a relatable character that was nothing like me.
I was a pretty good kid. Too good. Probably cause there isn’t a lot of mischief to get into when you hang out and are in a band with a bunch of middle aged folks (smart thinking mom and dad). Growing up very religious, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say I leaned towards prudish. I didn’t break rules or rebel. I stayed between the lines pretty comfortably. There’s something about the small town southern culture that makes us feel like we should act like life is perfect, we are perfect and we have it all together all the time. I would say I was pretty good at doing that at certain levels. But naturally, I’m a very blunt, honest, strong, spirited and sassy person- I get that from my mom (holy lord is she ever!). As I’ve grown into an adult and gone through some shit, much like a lot of folks in my generation I have found to really value raw honesty and I surround myself with it as much as possible. My close friends and I talk about our struggles and how we are working to overcome them- and not just the easy ones- the “skeleton in the closet” ones. The “these are the thoughts in my head that I am battling every day” ones. Over time the idea of wanting to act or look or sound or be perfect has just….well…..gotten boring. It lacked growth.
The “Bandit Queen” is the furthest woman I could or ever will be like. And creating her character and performing in her shoes is one of the most empowering feelings I have ever experienced. She knows what she is and she accepts it regardless of others. She embraces her passions and is unapologetic about her sexuality. She is her own woman and no one can veer her from fighting to the death for her truth.
When I felt hopeless trying to make this record, wondering if I would ever be able to see it to its completion. I would close my eyes and pretend I was her. Her sauce and strength and tenacity brought me back to believing in what I was doing. She helped me remember the value of the beliefs that I have based my decisions on in my life and helped me keep going.
In sharing her with you guys, I hope she can do the same for you, in whatever your are striving for or battling against. I hope she makes you feel like you can do anything- literally anything- you set your heart on. Because that is all I dream for, for each and every one of us
I am so happy to finally get to share this album cover with you!
A little back story on the creation of it below:
I had a vision for what I wanted the cover to look like. One night over a bottle of wine, I was sharing my vision with my long time friends, Chris Burke and Toby Gilbert. Toby, being the giving and amazingly talented photographer that he is, said “We should go to Chris’s family lake house in Alabama! It would be perfect for the shot. We could bring the pups, have a weekend getaway and play around and see what we come up with!” I mean, how sweet are my friends?!?!?!
Toby and I woke up at 4am every morning to catch that sweet spot right before the sun rose and the mist was still sitting on the water. I never dreamed Toby would capture the Bandit Queen so beyond perfectly and ever better than I had dreamed. It all came together naturally and genuinely and I couldn’t have asked for more.
For a thousand reasons this record is alive because of family, friends and believers that have been willing to give their time and talents to this project. Toby and Chris are both at the top of that list. We have been friends for nearly a decade now and this is definitely not the first favor they have ever done for me. They both helped to capture my first solo shots I ever took as well, which was such a gift in starting out on my journey to create this album. They also helped me create the video I just posted, telling my story in creating this record.
Because of Toby’s insane talent, the love and friendship we share and his believe in me and my vision, I truly believe there is no one else that could have shot this album cover but him. Furthermore, my long time friend and talented graphic designer, Kevin Fisher, created the perfect artwork to pair and omit the tone of this album’s voice. Thank you Toby and Kevin for making “Bandit Queen” come to visual life.