Local country band to rock the stage

Stephanie Hansen and her band are in their fifth season of performing throughout New England. Her shows have included fairs and festivals, along with opening for country music stars Sammy Kershaw, Josh Gracin, Lonestar and Sara Evans.

Hansen participated in a Q&A with The Berlin Citizen.

When did you first got into music and singing and what inspired you?

I guess I’ve been singing my whole life, but I was given my best opportunity in the first annual, Plainfield Rotary/WCTY Country Music Talent Show where I took first place in 2006. From there, my band was formed with the help of my cousin and his good friend who had a studio at the time. I’ve had some amazing people in my corner, whom I can’t thank enough. As a group we’ve played all over Connecticut, Rhode Island, and South Eastern Massachusetts, in venues like the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den, Newport Grand Casino, and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grille.

Can you describe the type of music you play and what the genre means to you?

I love music and singing, for as long as I can remember. I grew up listening to classic rock from Led Zeppelin to The Beatles. I love Frank Sinatra to Metallica and everything in between. Country music, however, speaks to me the most. It’s so real life, no excuses. I love artists like George Straight and Gary Brooks, and can’t get enough of Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean.

Country music is, to quote Toby Keith, “Songs About Me.” It’s the good times and parties, to falling in love and having your heart broken. It’s worrying about your brother defending our country, and praying to God when you hear the most important woman in your life has cancer. It’s toughing it out when everything else has failed, dusting yourself off, picking up the pieces, and starting all over, because that is just how it’s done. Country music tells the stories of my life even though I’ve never met the writers of the songs; somehow you feel they were meant for you.

What would you like the public to know about you and your band?

My band is compiled of some of the most amazing talent in Eastern Connecticut. And I don’t just say that because I have to. This is a group that is like my family. I can ask them to play almost anything and they always deliver their best. They are, in no particular order: Mike Barrette- lead guitar, Robin Aubin - keyboards, Louise Muller - fiddle and mandolin, Stan Forostoski - rhythm guitar, Richard Ribb - bass, and Chris Arundel - drums. We are high-energy entertainment. I’m only a small part of what we have to offer. As the solos are performed their talent takes center stage. We just love to be together on stage performing, and I hope the amount of fun we are having and that we are doing what we love is what comes across most of all, because that’s really why we are up there.

Where did you grow up and what do you have to say about your hometown and state?

So I grew up in Connecticut most of my life, mostly based in a little place in Eastern Connecticut called Moosup, a village in the town of Plainfield. I lived in Oregon for two years for grammar school, but other than that Connecticut has been my home. I was raised by my mother until I was 10, and I have four brothers: two from my dad, two from my stepfather. At 10, my mom left for reasons to this day I can’t comprehend, and my father and his parents raised me and my two brothers from there. My family is my biggest support system of all as it was hard growing up without my mom there. It was rough through school, and I wasn’t always happy being part of a small town, but, ironically enough, no matter how many times I’ve sworn I’d never come back, I have. And while maybe not in the same zip code, I’m only five minutes away from my family and the street I grew up on. It’s home.

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