Halestorm is an American hard rock band from Red Lion, PA (in York County), and was formed by siblings Elizabeth “Lzzy” Hale (vocals, guitar, piano) and Arejay Hale (drums) as early as 1998. The lineup is rounded out by Joe Hottinger (lead guitar) and Josh Smith (bass). Halestorm is, arguably, the best female-fronted hard rock band out there, and Lzzy Hale, with her powerful voice, is one of the best singers in rock. Lzzy Hale and I were born on the same day (October 10). She was born in 1984, and I, well, was not. Her band is, obviously, one of my favorites and Halestorm, in fact, rocked my world on September 4, 2012 at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio. They sound like a female-fronted version of Bon Jovi with a dash of Guns N’ Rose and a little bit of Heart and Pat Benatar. They have toured with hard rock and alternative rock artists such as Theory of a Deadman, Shinedown, Buckcherry, Disturbed, Seether, and others.
Halestorm‘s eponymous full-length debut, on Atlantic Records, was released in 2009. The excellent album opens with the one-two punch of the Bon Jovi-esque “It’s Not You” and the sleaze rocker “I Get Off,” both of which received some mainstream rock radio airplay. The third track, “Bet U Wish U Had Me Back,” an amazing power ballad, was the first song I ever heard by this band and, as such, my favorite. A slightly different, rock radio version was released as a B-side on a subsequent single. The Evanescence-ish “Familiar Taste of Poison” is another great track, and the rest, including the bonus tracks (especially “Tell Me Where It Hurts”), are all worth listening to. Watch some videos and listen to music from this album here …
The band followed up, in 2010, with “Live in Philly 2010,” which was recorded live at the TLA in Philadelphia, PA on April 30, 2010. Halestorm is known for their live shows and this album is definitely proof of that. “ReAnimate: The Covers EP,” released in 2011, was, obviously, an EP of covers of songs that influenced the band. They turn in a smoking cover of Guns N’ Roses‘ “Out Ta Get Me,” which is rivaled only by Damone‘s “You Could Be Mine” as the best GNR cover by a female artist. They also make “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” way better than Heart‘s boring original ever was. But, my favorite track is their cover of Temple of the Dog‘s “Hunger Strike.” Pearl Jam‘s Eddie Vedder trading vocals with Soundgarden‘s Chris Cornell made the 1991 original a grunge classic, but Halestorm‘s version is a refreshing alternative with a female voice.
Then, in 2012, Halestorm released “The Strange Case of …,” which ended up being my favorite album of last year. Every track on this disc is amazing and demands to be played, loud. The album opens with the sleaze rocker “Love Bites (So Do I),” the first single, which won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance on February 10, 2013. “I Miss the Misery,” a hard rocker, is a perfect second single, while “Mz. Hyde” and “Freak Like Me” are two excellent heavier rockers. I love in “Mz Hyde,” after the bridge, when Lzzy whispers, seductively: “It’s me, Lzzy, I swear.”
The very Bon Jovi-esque “You Call Me a Bitch Like It’s a Bad Thing” is yet another great track, as are the emotional pop/rockers “Beautiful With You” and “In Your Room,” and the stunning piano ballad “Break In.” Lzzy’s at her most vulnerable when she sings, in “Break In”: “Yeah, it’s perfectly reckless / Damn, you leave me defenseless / So break in.” But, the fear of being vulnerable consumes Lzzy. In “Hate It When You See Me Cry,” she sings: “I’m here to save the world / But who will save supergirl?” Then, in “Private Parts,” a duet with James Michael of Sixx:A.M., she begs: “We get naked but I can’t undress your heart / Show me your private parts.”
And, the rockin’ country-ish “American Boys” is just asking to be used in a Ford truck commercial, while the final track, “Here’s To Us” (co-written by the underrated Danielle Brisebois) was already used on the TV series, Glee. Watch some videos and listen to music from this album here …
The EP “In The Live Room,” released late 2012, was recorded live at the TLA in Philadelphia, PA on April 30, 2010, sans audience. Lzzy really shows offf her vocal prowess on an acoustic cover of Alicia Keys’ “Empire State Of Mind (Part II),” and offers up a cool rendition of “Bet U Wish U Had Me Back,” which they didn’t play at the Cleveland show last September. Lzzy also been a guest vocalist on other artists’ songs, most notably Shinedown‘s B-side duet version of “Breaking Inside” and Adrenaline Mob‘s cover of Duran Duran‘s “Come Undone.” Lzzy will also duet with Disturbed‘s David Draiman on a cover of Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne’s “Close My Eyes Forever” for Draiman’s new project, Device.
In the Sep/Oct 2012 issue of Revolver magazine, Lzzy Hale was voted #1 on The 25 Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock list by the magazine’s readers. Amy Lee ( Evanescence) was voted #2, followed by Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless and The CW’s Gossip Girl), Ash Costello (News Years Day), Brooklyn (Picture Me Broken), Maria Brink (In This Moment), Kimberly Freeman (One-Eyed Doll), Anissa & Alexia Rodriguez (Eyes Set To Kill), and Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) rounding out the top 10.
In the Nov/Dec 2011 issue, Amy Lee was #1 and Lzzy Hale was #2, as voted by the staff of Revolver magazine. The rest of the top 10 were Brooklyn, Maria Brink, Taylor Momsen, Anissa & Alexia Rodriguez, Cristina Scabbia, Carly Smithson (We Are The Fallen), and Emma Anzai (Sick Puppies).
Lzzy also also topped Revolver‘s The Hottest Chicks in Metal of All Time list appearing on the cover of the December 2009 issue with Grace Perry of Landmine Marathon.
However, as much as Lzzy deserves the honor, I think the vote was biased, by Revolver readers and staff, since Lzzy provides the female perspective of an advice column in the magazine (with Vinnie Paul of Hellyeah providing the male perspective)!