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Is the Next Big Indie-Folk Band From Ohio?

Oliver Hazard, indie, indie folk, folk, folk rock, live, live music, music, folk music, photography
Oliver Hazard performs live at The Axis Club Theatre in Toronto, Ontario on February 20, 2023. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Toronto, Canada - February 20, 2023 brought the rising Floridian indie folk band The 502s to Canada's largest city of Toronto. Along with them, they brought a young folk trio out of Waterville, Ohio. The band is called Oliver Hazard, and I would be totally remiss if I didn't have a little blurb about the band here.

Michael Belazis of Oliver Hazard performs live in Toronto, Ontario on February 20. 2023. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Headed by lead vocalist Michael Belazis, Oliver Hazard has been around for a handful of years, having released their first recorded track in 2017. "Caesar Knows" was released on November 3rd of that year, and was followed up by 2 additional song releases until the band's first LP, 34 N. River, was released on June 15, 2018. The album included the 3 previously released individual tracks with 7 brand new songs. Since then, the band has consistently released songs, EPs and LPs, and are now seeing their music being played live north of the American border.

Ahead of the main event at The Axis Club Theatre in Toronto, we get our first glimpse of the Ohio folk band. The 3-piece band line up front stage with their simple set. Bass guitar to my far left, guitar centre and keyboards to my right, the band starts in with their first track. It's as soft and gentle as a warm hug, that for me is very reminiscent of Mumford & Sons. I have grown to love Mumford & Sons over the past few years, so my interest with Oliver Hazard is immediately piqued. I get drawn into their sound immediately.

Nate Miner of Oliver Hazard performing live in Toronto, Canada. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Consisting of bassist Devin East, the aforementioned Michael Belazis and keyboardist Nate Miner, the members are all vocalists as well. The harmonies that emanate from this trio are extraordinary. They provide the depth and texture for the band that is crucial given the lack of additional instruments like drums, horns, or even additional guitars. There is definitely nothing lacking with this musical trio. One of the greatest things with the job I do is discovering new music. Going to a concert and catching a supporting act can open your world to something you may never have even knew existed. On top of that, there are diamonds in the rough that will one day become massive music stars. Every band starts out small. Could you imagine seeing some of today's biggest bands in a small venue opening up for a headliner that is not them? The stories you may tell, could last a lifetime. At minimum, you just may discover some amazing music that resonates with you, despite the stature of the musical act. At the end of the day, great music is great music despite the stardom of the singer.

Devin East of Oliver Hazard performs at The Axis Club Theatre in Toronto, Ontario. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

One thing is for sure, Oliver Hazard left an impression on me. If you enjoy folk music from bands like The Lumineers or Mumford & Sons, you are definitely going to enjoy these guys. There quite possibly could be bigger things on the horizon for the band and their fans.

Check out their latest video here and judge for yourself. What are your thoughts? Why not share your thoughts in the comment section below?


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