Trio says Amen to playing East County bar
'American Idol' contestant Britnee Kellogg opens the show Thursday
Fans of country music should be flocking to Duke's Country Bar and Grill this Thursday, Feb. 16, to catch Eden's Edge, an up-and-coming trio from Arkansas that's made a splash with their hit single 'Amen.'
And if you've been following Vancouver, Wash., 'American Idol' contestant Britnee Kellogg, you should get there early to catch her set as the show opener.
Eden's Edge features Hannah Blaylock, Dean Berner and Cherrill Green. Each member grew up in rural Arkansas and has an extensive background in music, according to their press kit.
'I had grown up singing in church and school talent shows,' says lead vocalist Blaylock. 'I'd always known that I wanted to be a singer. I didn't know exactly how to go about making that happen, but my parents always knew that that was my true passion and they wanted to nurture that as much as possible.'
By the time she was in her teens, Blaylock was singing in a band with her family and Steve Smith, a local financial planner with a penchant for writing songs. It was Smith who recruited Berner to join the group.
'He taught me my first chords on guitar, and he was also my soccer coach when I was 7,' says Berner, who plays guitar and dobro and contributes harmony vocals. 'I grew up listening to a pretty eclectic mix of music from Johnny Cash to Crystal Gayle … Billy Joel, Paul Simon and The Eagles.'
Berner and Green played music together a few times during their college days, and a month after Berner joined Hannah's group, they recruited Green.
'We needed another mandolin player and singer, so we found Cherrill,' Blaylock says. 'She's this incredible instrumentalist, and she could follow me like crazy with harmonies because she'd grown up her whole life singing in a family bluegrass band.'
Green's world was dominated by bluegrass.
'I listened to Alison Krauss, Tony Rice and Flatt and Scruggs, but then my mom listened to a lot of The Judds, Reba, George Strait, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn,' she says, adding she plays mandolin, banjo and guitar.
'We played a lot of festivals. At bluegrass festivals you just play all the time,' she adds. 'We'd jam 'til really late at night, and we were constantly around so many good musicians.'
After Berner and Green joined Blaylock's band, the group steadily gained popularity, touring extensively around their home region and winning area talent competitions. They eventually caught the ear of Kye Fleming, known for penning such classic hits as Barbara Mandrell's 'I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool' and Ronnie Milsap's 'Smoky Mountain Rain.'
Fleming encouraged the young trio to move to Nashville, where they eventually landed a record deal with Big Machine. Blaylock co-wrote the trio's first single, 'Amen,' drawing from her rural experiences.
'We all grew up in small towns, and in Arkansas there is a church on every corner,' Hannah says. ''Amen' is a fresh depiction of a small town love story. Everybody knows everybody else and gossip gets around and it paints a picture of that small town where two people fall in love.'
If you go
WHO: Eden's Edge, Britnee Kellogg
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16
WHERE: Duke's Country Bar and Grill, 14601 S.E. Division St.
INFO: 503-760-1400, dukesbar.com