Edens Edge Spill On Goals, Pranking Brad Paisley and Loving Lady Gaga
Individually, they’re three hopeful and humble artists in their mid-twenties: Hannah Blaylock, Cherrill Green & Dean Berner. Together, they form the talked-about trio Edens Edge, and are delighted to be along for the ride on the 2011 Brad Paisley H2O II World Tour this summer.
Four years ago, the band broke off of Blaylock’s family group to form Edens Edge, and flew north to nestle in Nashville. Now, the three of them agree that they’re at home in the “big small town,” and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. But they won’t have to — they’re edging their way into the country music family as the youthful face of the scene, a three-piece with a wide-eyed perspective a solid sound to match.
First off, tell us the story of how you formed as a trio.
Dean Berner: Well, so we were playing together back in Arkansas. We’ve been together for about seven years. The band started with Hannah and her mom and dad, and a family friend named Steve Smith. Steve was the guy who taught me to play guitar when I was 12, he was my confirmation mentor in church and just a good family friend. So after I finished college, I joined the band, and at that time, Hannah was just a senior in high school. Cherrill was going to college at Arkansas Tech University, and she met us through Steve’s son Andrew, who was in college there as well.
So, we all just kind of got together, playing music just for fun. We played shows around Arkansas for a few years. Then, there was a song competition for the Nashville Songwriters Association that one of our songs was in, and it made it to the Top 10. Kye Fleming was a brilliant songwriter who was a judge on that competition, and she heard our song and really resonated with it and had us come out and play for her. After that show we stayed in touch for the next year or two, and she kind of talked the three of us into breaking off and moving to Nashville.
So, the rest of the band was older, and they had jobs and mortgages and grandkids — all that kind of stuff — so they gladly blessed us to come over here to Nashville and do our thing over here. We got signed with Big Machine just a little over a year ago.
Where does the band name come from?
Hannah Blaylock: The band that I started with my parents and our friend, it was called Hannah Blaylock and Lost and Found. Not long after Dean and Cherrill came along, we discovered there was another band called Lost and Found, and we didn’t have any money … so we didn’t want to get sued. We ended up going, “Well, might be a good idea to get a new name.”
If you’ve ever tried to think of even a book title or a band name or anything, it’s quite difficult! It’s not the easiest thing to get something that’s quite clever, much less applies to you, much less get something that isn’t taken. So, it took a while, and we made all of these lists and people were all getting involved. It was kind of a game. So, we were on our way to a show one day and we were driving through the Ozark Mountains. We were kind of caravanning between two cars and we had these little walkie-talkies, and we were talking back to each other and playing the ‘let’s find a new band name’ game. After a point, you just start getting goofy and coming up with all of these silly things. Steve looked out over this valley and there’s this beautiful spot where the mountains open up and you look over the landscape of the Ozarks and Arkansas. If you’ve ever been to Arkansas and gotten to go into the nature of it, it’s just absolutely beautiful. It’s called the Natural State for a reason. It’s part of who we are.
Anyway, I remember Steve goes, “Look, you guys, it looks like we’re on the edge of Eden!” and we all thought, that’s so cool — let’s call ourselves Edens Edge. It really just stuck. We really feel like it displays a lot about who we are and it’s what music does for our life.
So you guys dropped your debut single, ‘Amen,’ last month. How has that been going so far?
Dean Berner: Really great! We’ve been on a radio tour since January, all over the country getting to see country radio and play some songs for them. It’s really been awesome. We’ve gotten some great support on the single and we’re just so thankful for country radio playing our song.
What’s your songwriting process like?
Cherrill Green: I think it’s different every time we walk in the room. We were talking earlier, actually, about how sometimes you walk in with a hook, or just a couple of lines, or the thought of a story, or maybe what you’re feeling that day. Sometimes you wake up with a little melody or a riff in your head and you kind of start playing it out before you go to the session. It just kind of depends on what’s going on. Everyone comes in with ideas, and whatever ends up clicking for whoever is in the room, you kind of just go with whatever feels good for that moment.
Hannah Blaylock: See, we like experimenting a lot. There’s such talented songwriters and musicians here in Nashville, and we’re so honored to be able to be apart of the writing process with these amazingly talented people. We like to change it up, you know? We’ll do Dean and I with somebody, or the three of us like to write together, too — that’s really fun. We like all different kinds of combinations. The good thing about that is we get even more songs that are good contenders for the album.
So you guys are working on that album right now?
Hannah Blaylock: Right! We’ve gotten about two-thirds of it done so far, and we’re really pumped about the process. Even the five that we’ve written up ’til now, we really love a lot of them and we hope to only get better at that. We’re pretty happy with the ones that we’ve recorded so far.
What do you think people can expect from it when it does hit?
Cherrill Green: We all talk about how we have these albums on our iPods, and just CDs laying around, that are just things that never get old no matter how many times you’ve heard them. We’re hoping that’s what we can achieve with our own music. We try to find music and just live with it long enough that you can tell if it’s really got longevity, and if it’s something a mass of people can connect to. We’re really proud of the music that we’ve chosen thus far, so hopefully the rest of the album will be like that. I hope that they get something that they can listen to over and over and still really enjoy it!
Any idea when that will come out?
Dean Berner: No, but we’ve got a five-song EP, so we’ll have that on the road this summer with Brad Paisley. We wanted to have something that we could get to fans after the show, that they could have some music to take home with them.
Speaking of the Brad Paisley tour, congratulations on that. What are you most looking forward to?
Hannah Blaylock: Pranks [band laughs]!
Cherrill Green: No, we hear he’s a big prankster so we’ve been asking people — followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook — to send us ideas. We’re asking radio ideas, anybody we can. We need to do something really great! Not enough to get kicked off the tour, obviously… [all laugh].We wanna do something fun. We’ve got a few ideas boiling right now.
Be honest, do you guys ever clash at all creatively or otherwise? What’s your relationship like?
Hannah Blaylock: We are all very different in the way that we’re creative. We all have very different personalities. But our perspective is that only makes us stronger, you know, three different people and three different ideas. If we were all the same all the time we’d probably make mistakes and make wrong decisions! The fact that we get to brainstorm together and come up with the best result is, I think, the strength of our group. That goes along in every aspect, not only musically, but in our business and making decisions and stuff. You get in a band and you don’t know how people do it any other way [laughs]. You’re just so used to having that person, we can always go to each other and get each other’s opinions. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have them to talk to.
Cherrill Green: It’s been fun to learn and grow that way. You know, how to communicate and how to bring three totally different people into the same page. We’ve leaved how to get on the same page and flush out every idea and find what works best for us as a group, together.
Hannah Blaylock: And, we’ve been together seven years now. It’s different being a group for that long when you’re 30-37 as it is from as young as we were to now and the experiences that we’ve had. We moved to Nashville together and were kind of becoming independent — you know, I was a senior in high school! I’m the youngest but we were all still very young, so we’ve really grown into being adults together. We say being in a band is like being siblings, business partners, married and friends all meshed into one.
What inspires you guys?
Cherrill Green: I grew up listening to Alison Krauss and the Judds, old country kind of stuff. Anything that I hear with acoustics and heavy harmonies feeds my soul, I love that kind of stuff. But it’s different for each of us.
Dean Berner: Yeah, you know, I grew up listening to an eclectic variety of music. Johnny Cash was a huge inspiration to me, just because he was so real and raw and full of emotion. When I think about it, really pretty much anything that I listen to that lasts a long time is anything that really has an emotional impact. That’s what we’re all trying to do, is to impact people with our music. Sometimes it’s a quiet piece of music, or sometimes it’s a really rocking thing that I really get into like Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix.
Hannah Blaylock: For sure, we all kind of grew up with different backgrounds of music. If you listen to any of our iPods, we have anything from pop, hip-hop, folk, Americana, bluegrass, R&B, country radio — of course, that’s like No. 1 for us. Anything and everything, and I think the more you can expand your horizons the more you can grow as a musician.
Oh yeah? Who’s your favorite hip-hop artist?
Hannah Blaylock: I really love pop music right now! I’ve really been inspired by some female pop vocalists lately on pop radio. Kesha is really awesome. I love Kesha and I love the new Katy Perry record, like, that whole record is amazing. Then the whole phenomenon of Lady Gaga. When she played in Nashville I was just dying to get those tickets. I went and watched and I was studying every move she made and how she talks to her fans, and really makes them feel like they belong. It’s so inspiring to be apart of and to watch her perform and the way that she disperses her energy to that entire stadium. It’s an amazing thing to watch.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Cherrill Green: Well, it’d be nice to have our own tour eventually. We’re really excited to get out on this major tour with Brad, and what an honor. But, we’re hoping things go well enough that we can start building our own fanbase and learn from how Brad has treated the people around him. That only pushes you further. We’re excited to learn this summer, from him, as a business and as an entertainer, and just the way people respect him and how he treats everyone down to his opening act and his crew. So, we hope to be blessed enough to have our own tour one day.
Hannah Blaylock: The ultimate dream is to be in this business and be apart of the country music family for a long, long career. When you’re accepted, you belong and you’re a member of the family for life. If we weren’t doing it here in Nashville, we’d be on our back porches pickin’ back home. It’s just cool that we get to do this for a job, and that somebody wanted to listen to the songs we had to sing. We’re blessed to have that opportunity.
Get to Know Edens Edge and Hear Their Single ‘Amen’