Book Review | “Recipes and Road Stories: Life on the road with sisters Hannah & Caroline Melby” (of the duo) #HanaLena

Posted Friday, 2 October, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By: I  was contacted by Kelsey @ Book Publicity Services in regards to a non-fiction journal account of a sister duo in country music who journalled their experiences on the road whilst touring. I received a complimentary copy of “Recipes and Road Stories” direct from the publicist via Book Publicity Services in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I love fiddles and folk music – I am a champion of bluegrass and outlaw country, and I tend to have my own mind about where I ‘fit’ inside Country music where I most likely am on the fringes rather than being on the ‘inside edge’; however, this personally suits my fancy! I love cross-over artists (Country to Pop) and I love the originality of musicians who can belt out a ballard and write the lyrics which resonate on a heart-pulse the beauty of their message.

When I first learnt about this memoir by a duo of bluegrass who were traditionally trained and who have a natural rhythm of joy surrounding them as they play, I couldn’t find a reason not to accept this book for review! I’m a foodie girl at heart, if you follow my exploits under my #TheBookishFoodie featured cookbook reviews, you’d know how seeing a fusion of home-spun stories of family life, faith-centered journalling of life experiences, and the quirky addition of recipes woven together into a memoir of a rising duo of bluegrass – truly, what isn’t to love?

Book Review | “Recipes and Road Stories: Life on the road with sisters Hannah & Caroline Melby” (of the duo) #HanaLenaRecipes and Road Stories: Life on the Road with sisters Hannah and Caroline Melby of the Duo HanaLena
by Hannah and Caroline Melby
Source: Direct from Publicist

Recipes and Road Stories: Life on the Road with sisters Hannah and Caroline Melby of the duo HanaLena blends touching and rollicking road stories with an assortment of tasty recipes, and then tops everything off with plenty of exciting photographs.

Also contributing recipes are friends they made on the road, including Rhonda Vincent, a 5-time Grammy nominee who has been called the "Queen of Bluegrass", and Clarie Lynch, who is the reigning Female Vocalist of the Year for the International Bluegrass Association.

On the road they have opened for stars such as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and performed with Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Louvin and the "King of Bluegrass" Jimmy Martin, who was a frequent performer at the Opry before his death in 2005.

In their off-hours, the sisters focused on the business end of music, with Hannah receiving a degree in public relations from Mississippi State University and Caroline receiving a degree in music business from Belmont University in Nashville.

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Baking, Biography / Autobiography, Cookery, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Travelogue

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Sartoris Literary Group Inc

on 15th September, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 336

 Published By: Sartoris Literary Group, Inc.

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Interview about developing Recipes and Road Stories | The Clarion-Ledger

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HanaLena Summer Tour via HanaLenaBand

jump in the car and ride along with the sisters! beautiful vocals overlay the footage!

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Converse on Twitter via: #HanaLena

About Hannah and Caroline Melby

Hannah and Caroline Melby; HanaLena

By the time Hannah was in the 11th grade and Caroline was in the 7th grade, the Melby sisters were touring the country in bluegrass bands, with Hannah on fiddle and Caroline on mandolin. Today the sisters are front persons of a very popular Nashville-based country music touring band named HanaLena.

The sisters, who grew up in Starkville, Mississippi, performed from an early age - Hannah is now 28, Caroline is 24 - evolving from bluegrass to progressive country as they perfected their songwriting and performance skills out on the road. In 2008 they won the "Best New Act in Country Music" competition at the Colgate Country Showdown in the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville - and took home a check for a cool $100,000 presented by country music star LeAnn Rimes.

Photo Credit: Cathy Waugh

Hannah @hannahmelbyns Caroline @carolinemelby

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Caroline and Hannah Melby: HanaLena.

This memoir starts on a hard-hitting opening which leaves you pensive about the larger picture in life and why each moment that arrives might hold a greater truth than we might realise. They were relating the story of a mother of five who was happily wedding a man who had three children of his own; it’s the tragedy of how her life was meant to overcome the worst of what can be dealt any wife twiceover and still have the faith (and very much the will) to carry-on. It’s one of those snippets of a life affirming short story you might find in an uplifting anthology – but to have lived to hear the story from the woman firsthand, is an answered prayer for HanaLena who were needed to hear this woman’s story and see the beautiful circle of love enveloping her at a period in her life where it might have looked all was loss.

As I read the early creative cues the girls were giving their parents and grandparents about how they wanted to lead lives full of music and the joy of creating something altogether new and personable to them, warmed my very heart! I grew up in a creative environment myself – where photographers and writers were humming their creativity all around me. A deep appreciation for music and song-writers, as well as Classical compositions rounded out a childhood full of wonder for art in all it’s mediums, as art galleries and old world arts & craft shows were happily attended in earnest. Even antiquing was a past-time I felt my peers were missing out on, due to the history behind the pieces you’d find and the uniqueness they provided by being crafted by artisans who understood the materials they were using. The same came be said for budding musicians whose ear and soul were already in suit to follow their family’s footsteps into the world of music.

I liked how they shared their history of travelling with the Bluegrass Festivals throughout the the South whilst giving us a background on how they met the artists who not only influenced them professionally but offered their friendship and encouragement. The recipes begin ahead of Chapter 2 and are inserted at intervals thereafter, to where your moving through their journalled history of their professional experiences and giving you tempting recipes that make you want to whip up something fast to nosh on!

I honestly surprised myself – the recipe I want to make the most is on page 107: Shrimp & Grits! I think it’s because this is Southern Comfort at it’s refined state of bliss – I’ve recently picked up a liking towards ‘shrimp’ again, despite turning up my nose on it for over three decades! lol I apparently gobbled it down like candy when I was a toddler, but since then? The appeal was lost on me – until the past few years, where I was inclined to try a few samplings of recipes where a newfound appreciation emerged. It should not surprise me because over the past week I have found a new way to tuck inside the traditional comfort of ‘biscuits and gravy’ is to add a fried egg on top! Holl-ah! (i.e. the shout-out of glee from Queen Latifah in ‘Beauty Shop’)

A special treat was finding out a bit about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ for my current favourite song of theirs Mississippi Queen of which I’ve inserted into this review to give you a first taste of how their vocals speak to your soul. Add one restored riverboat and a ghost who haunts the grounds on which she was murdered and this tale of filming a music video is brilliant for those of us who love Southern Gothic or Victorian Ghost Stories – right in time to learn of it too, being that Halloween is right round the corner!

Ooh – now still my heart – they have a right proper homemade Mac & Cheese recipe leaping out at me on page 144! Dear hearts, I am not sure about you, but making a homemade version of this is beyond difficult, so much so I suffer through either a frozen brand of it (every blue moon!) or those naughty boxed versions that have no actual taste of cheese inside them! Boo hoo! They combined two of my favourite ingredients: penne pasta and cheddar cheese (fresh!) with cheddar cheese soup! <— this last ingredient I can believe will make all the difference when I go to whip up a batch! Soup is notoriously a ‘secret ingredient’ to make your dishes taste something special! Now I’m going to have a hankering for this until I can scout out the necessary bits I’m missing to make it! lol

Smiled into a smirk a bit whilst reading they love the Midwest even if they roll their happy-hearted greetings into a ‘you guys’ vs the Southern variant of it! I smirked because I am of Northern stock and I spent most of my childhood years saying ‘you guys’ until I reached high school – that was a bird of a different feather type of experience altogether! You found ways to blend in even if you’d rather be in Australia! (hearkens to my original brilliant idea to exit high school early – head off to Oz!)

What endears you to HanaLena the band and the Melby sisters is their united front approach to making it in an industry that seeks to shatter your confidence and erode away your normalcy. These are two fiercely independent girls who are grounded by family and faith; giving their heart to their music whilst keeping their spirit tethered to each other. They openly share their joys and their upsets, give a bit of an impression towards their foodie souls and allow us the grace to ‘pick up the trace’ behind their footsteps.

One of the chapter headings is hinting at the fact the recording industry isn’t for sissies – I would well imagine that phrase can apply to all aspects of living – life if lived well is emotionally raw, dearly difficult at times, and blessedly given a measure of grace to help us through the obstacles which can overtake us without foreknowledge. It’s how you set your attitude and how you choose to live your life that counts the most in the end. Rising to each new challenge and accepting the road will have some rocks and curves along your journey is the best way to greet the next sunrise. Give yourself to your adventure and you’ll be pleasantly rewarded by the serendipitous nature of what alights next on your path.

postscript: Once I find myself a proper cast iron skillet, I’m going to be making Mississippi Chris’ cornbread skillet recipe! Let’s face it – cornbread is divine when made well, but made in a skillet? That’s Southern refinement if I ever heard of it! I bet it comes out so delish and moist, you inhale it!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comHanaLena |

Mississippi Queen performed by HanaLena via HanaLenaBand

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via This book review is courtesy of Book Publicity Services.

This review was meant to post in July after health difficulties in the Spring months, only to be put off until October due to the after effects of severe lightning storms in July and August led to nearly a full month of September to fix the damages. I regret I wasn’t able to post this sooner than now, however, I am thankful I can finally share my thoughts and hopefully help introduce others to HanaLena!

Previously I reviewed the first book in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency series:

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

I am continuing where I left off with Kitty Hawk and her wicked awesome flying adventures this Autumn 2015! Books 2-4 will be arriving on Jorie Loves A Story starting in November. I was delayed due to health reasons from reading through the series during the Spring and the forementioned lightning storms of Summer kept me offline.

Since I posted my initial review the 5th adventure of Kitty Hawk has arrived: Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces! I cannot wait to dive back into this series!

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Happily shared during #NonFictionFriday!

#NonFictionFriday hosted by Doing Dewey. Badge created by Doing Dewey and used with permission.

{Sources: Book Cover Art for “Recipes and Road Stories”, HanaLena photographs, book synopsis, and the book cover for “Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold” were provided by Book Publicity Services and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. The videos for HanaLena via HanaLena had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. #NonFictionFriday hosted by Doing Dewey. Badge created by Doing Dewey and used with permission.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 2 October, 2015 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Publicity Services, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Cookbook, Cookery, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Documentary on Topic or Subject, Indie Author, Memoir, Music Video, Non-Fiction, Short Stories or Essays, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, The Bookish Foodie, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Travel Writing, Travelogue, Vignettes of Real Life

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