For most country music artists, the dream of stardom begins at a very young age, but very few have the talent, discipline and dedication to achieve those goals. Paying their dues over the past eight years and working together to polish their performance, the trio known as Eden's Edge has risen to the top in Nashville and can bask in the moment as they are finally realizing those dreams.
Releasing their first album last week and beginning a summer tour with one of Country music's hottest acts, it is all falling in place for the Arkansas born and raised Hannah Blaylock, Dean Berner and Cherrill Green.
Their journey to stardom began when the group's notable vocal harmonies garnered them top prize in an NSAI song contest presented by CMT in 2006. As fate would have it, one of the judges for the competition was veteran Nashville songwriter Kye Fleming, a very fortunate break for the group.
According to Kye, after 30 year's of experience in the business, when she heard a talented band from her home state of Arkansas she decided to coax the young trio to move to Nashville, and together they began an exciting adventure. Kye say's her decision to develop Edens Edge, is another journey for the absolute joy of it.
Kye has been awarded over 42 BMI award's and was BMI and NSAI songwriter of the year penning such country classics as Smoky Mountain Rain, I Wouldn't Have Missed it for the World, Sleeping Single in a Double Bed, I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool and Nobody.
Spending three years in Nashville, Kye advised the trio to avoid the traditional route of playing the feeder circuit of honky-tonk bars and instead polished her gem in the rough through rigorous practice into a diamond.
When Kye was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009 she saw the perfect opportunity to share her find with the industry. The group would perform a five-song medley of her hits and as fate would have it in the audience that night was the president of Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta.
Recognizing that this polished trio of performers had a special chemistry which sparkled in the bright lights of the stage, Borchetta signed the group to his label in 2010.
Releasing their first single 'Amen.' showcasing lead vocalist Hannah Blaylock's ethereal stylings entwined with the flawless harmonies and instrumental backings of Berner and Green, the song quickly rose to the top 20 on the country charts.
The single's success attracted the attention of some of Nashville's top talent and the group was invited to open three major Country tours last year with Brad Paisley, Reba and Lady Antebellum.
Talking with them on a very busy day last week as they released their self titled debut album and packed up their tour bus for the weekend kicking off of a mega-tour with Rascal Flatts, it was hard for the trio to contain their excitement.
"We are very proud of this album, it is an incredible project we have worked on for a long time," said Berner. "It is a huge milestone for us,"
The band also mentioned that their new album made Billboard's list of Top 40 albums to watch of summer. reminding fans that a deluxe edition of their album, featuring three additional acoustic tracks, will be available at Cracker Barrel stores.
"We hope fans will enjoy the album, we chose the songs we feel are the best," said Hannah. "This is truly the biggest honor of our lives."
"It is Country with roots," said Cherrill describing the sound of the trio. "We all grew up with different and diverse musical backgrounds, I was raised in a bluegrass family, Dean was a rocker and Hannah was Folk/Americana, but there was a central core of country which we all share which binds us together."
"We love doing our thing, there is the sound of each of us individually, which sort of organically blended into Edens Edge," Berner agreed. "We have written over 200 songs, we tried to pick out the songs which worked best in our live shows, the songs you will take with you as fans and hopefully we will still be performing in 10 years."
The album is a labor of love, a complete work with passion and it's own flow. I asked the group if it was disappointing that fans could pick and choose songs with some never listening to the entire song list.
"It is one of those things that works both ways, there are pros and cons" said Cherill. "You have the amazing opportunity to download the music and take it with you wherever you go on your phone or portable device, but also you can pick and choose just certain songs."
The group was equally as proud that the deluxe version is available for $11.99 at all Cracker Barrel locations and at crackerbarrel.com; the entire album and individual tracks are also available for download at crackerbarrel.com.
"We love to connect with people through music. Having our debut album in Cracker Barrel gives us an even greater opportunity to connect with our fans in one of our favorite restaurants in the country," added Hannah.
Tracks on Edens Edge album include: Amen, Swingin' Door, Skinny Dippin', Too Good To Be True, Last Supper, Feels So Real, Who Am I Drinking Tonight, Liar, Cherry Pie, and Christ Alone.
The deluxe edition available at Cracker Barrel includes three exclusive tracks: Roots, Little Bird, Wherever I Go.
Representing the old school LP crowd, I recommend dropping the virtual needle on track one and listening to all of the tracks. The amazing sound of the harmonies is perhaps best highlighted in the a cappella rendering of "Christ Alone" which country music fans might reference to a haunting Alison Krauss vocal collaboration.
Local fans have the opportunity to hear the trio live when they appear with Rascal Flatts at Jamboree in the Hills on Saturday, July 21 appearing along with Lorrie Morgan, Neal McCoy, The Eli Young Band and Little Big Town.
Local fans will also have an additional opportunity to meet the band. It has just been announced that the trio will be doing a Meet & Greet as well as autograph signing at Cracker Barrel (67781 Mall Road, St. Clairsville, OH) on Saturday, July 21 from noon 1:00PM.