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Interview: Hannah Dasher talks about new single ‘Ugly Houses’ and her upcoming EP ‘The Other Damn Half’

Hannah Dasher truly is a force of nature and one of the most innovative and exciting artists in Country music right now.

She first came to my attention in 2021 with her feisty songs ‘Left Right’ and ‘Girls Call the Shots’, which she followed up with her fantastic EP ‘The Half Record’. Since then Dasher has been steadily releasing music, with her most recent song ‘Cryin’ All The Way To The Bank’ showcasing her personality and razor sharp songwriting.

As she releases new single ‘Ugly Houses’, I caught up with Hannah to talk about her music, discuss parting ways with her label, and to find out about her upcoming cookbook…

It’s been two years since we last spoke. There’s been new music, an EP and lots more. What have you been up to?

Not as much music as I want to come out but I’ve honestly I’ve just been trying to save up the bank to be able to afford to put music out. It takes a lot of money to do this, as you know, but instead of just waiting for the money to come in, or waiting for an investor to jump on board, I’ve just taken a leap of faith and I’ve decided to go ahead. The world has waited long enough (so) let’s just go ahead and start putting music out. My needs are being met and it’s just coming from out of nowhere. It’s a really cool thing. I’m really excited about ‘Cryin’ All The Way To The Bank’. It’s an obvious song that I can’t believe had not been written yet. Me and Benji Davis started writing here in my living room.

It’s such a great song and it embodies everything I love about you. The lyrics are clever and your personality shines through. When i first heard it, I felt like it was a song I’d known for years…

As a songwriter, that’s the ultimate compliment so I thank you for that. For me, I like something that has familiarity but you can’t put your finger on it. When it comes to fashion and the sound of my music, there are things that I love to hang on to that I want to carry forward and merge it with whatever it is that I do that gives you the Hannah Dasher sound like the pedal steel guitar, big collared shirts, wood paneling on the walls and things, that is very much part of who I am. That nostalgic tone like from the 80s and 90s, the country music that we grew up lovin’, I’m trying to include a lot of that and I have been for years. I fought my label about it too. They didn’t want me to have a steel guitar but I wanted a pedal steel.

Hannah Dasher
Credit: Jeremy Ryan

On ‘The Half Record’ you really showcased your versatility and your ability to switch between commerical Country and traditional, always keeping your sound and your personality at the forefront. In August you’re released ‘The Other Damn Half’. What can we expect from that?

It will be a variety but it’s going to showcase my songwriting a little more as well. I feel like during the pandemic everyone, at least that I’ve talked to, has done a lot of soul searching and I did a lot of cleanup on myself. As a result my relationships and my music have improved… my physique, I’ve lost weight… I’ve just really done a whole renovation on me to wax the Cadillac if you will. Not to change who I am but just to be the best version of me. You’re gonna get that with this music.

The music video that I’m shooting here today is for the next song that we’re gonna release. It’s a song called ‘Ugly Houses’, which is very stripped down with acoustic guitar, pedal steel and my voice. Real estate is just booming (here) and there’s a bunch of real estate signs that say ‘we buy ugly houses’ and I thought, ‘you know what? I’m kind of an ugly house. I wonder if God’s in the real estate business?’ I don’t push my faith on anyone but if you know me, you know I’m a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. We just put out my ‘Blazin’ and Praisin’ line (where) I’ve got a joint in one hand and my Bible in the other. It’s just who I am, genuinely. This song showcases my faith and (I’m) just saying that, ‘yes, I’m imperfect but I’ve learned to be okay with that and I’m just learning to hand over the keys basically’. ‘If you buy ugly houses, Lord I’m taking down my For Sale sign’. It’s basically about selling to the one and not selling out to the Devil, if that makes sense. We got songs like that and ‘I’m Gonna Whip Your Redneck Ass’ is gonna be on that record too. The next one coming out (after ‘Ugly Houses’) is a song called, ‘I’m the One that Taught Him That Thing You Like’ (laughs). It’s gonna be fun!

Roll on August 4th, I can’t wait to hear these songs…

I know! I’m so excited! I’ve got fun content planned around that song and around the ‘Redneck’ song. Another song on there is called ‘God’s Good Ol’ Boy’ that I wrote with the same guys that I wrote ‘Cryin’ All The Way To The Bank’ with. The song that I was writing when I got fired from Bass Pro Shops, ‘Go To Bed Early’, Brad Paisley eventually wound up cutting that song and I sang on his version with him, but we’re going to cut my version of that song. It’s sexy song.

That must be a nice full circle moment for you to be able to record your version of that song now?

The full circle moment for me was when I performed my Opry debut. The Grand Ole Opry is in the same parking lot of that Bass Pro Shop where I worked when I moved to town. I slept in an attic on a mattress on the floor with a window unit, I didn’t even have a kitchen. I performed that song on my Opry debut and gave Bass Pro Shop a big shout out. Thanks for firing me!

You parted ways with your label. What was that experience like?

I’ve been trying to stay present. Sony dropped me as soon as I released ‘The Half Record’. The timing was not right but as a result of that I did a lot of soul searching and I was like, ‘you know what? I don’t want to give anyone a reason to ever tell me ‘no’ again’. With my music, I feel like I have too much to offer the world to just wait for someone to do it for me. I took myself on my own tailgate tour and I crashed the shows of Eric Church, Jon Pardi and Brothers Osborne. I did a parking lot tour and basically, I sold merch and made money. I’ve continued to grow my platforms and I’ve been collaborating with a guy called Cornbread Cowboy, bless him. I’m a born entertainer so whether it’s in the kitchen or cooking with Rachael Ray, I still write songs for Sony Music Publishing… I have to entertain, that’s just who I am. People can look forward to seeing me on TV this year, they can look forward to a cookbook coming out and they can look forward to an album. You’re the one of the first ones to know about the cookbook!

Hannah Dasher
Credit: Kylie Rebecca

I’m excited about the cookbook. We swap cooking and baking tips now and again…

I revere your page honey! You are gifted!

That’s very kind of you to say!

It’s such a dying art. I’m 34 and I can’t believe how many girls my age can’t cook. I’m not married and I don’t have children but a lot of women my age are married and are starting to have kids and it’s like, ‘how are you going to prepare a meal for them?’ Cooking is a dying art.

Your ‘Stand By Your Pan’ series has done wonders for you and has gone viral on TikTok. I always love that everything you do, whether it be music or cooking or something else, it fits so seamlessly into the Hannah Dasher brand and it never feels forced…

I still write handwritten thank you letters and I go to church on Sundays when I’m in town. I try to hang on to the things that I think one ought to hang on to, to try to carry that forward. I still listen to Rival Sons and Greta Van Fleet, and T-Pain. There are newer things that I love. I’m not so old school that I’m hard headed but I think there’s a way to package that in such a way that it’s appealing to non-Country music fans, and fans who used to be fans of Country music, who maybe don’t listen to it anymore. That’s what I think Willie and I have done with this record, ‘The Other Damn Half’. I can’t wait to present it to the world.

When are we going to get you over to the UK to play some shows?

Oh my gosh! I’m dying to play over there. It’s so expensive to travel overseas with a band. demand. (I’d come over) even if it’s like a pub crawl. Just me and an acoustic guitar and a skeleton team of people.

Hannah Dasher’s new single ‘Ugly Houses’ is out now and her EP ‘The Other Damn Half’ will be released on 4th August 2023.

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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