SLIGHTLY UNFILTERED: Effingham Powerhouse Hannah Dasher Comes Home

Hannah Dasher is a lot of things—a country music star, TikTok influencer, and a pretty good cook. One thing she’s not, though, is afraid to be herself. “I'm a little bit of Saturday night and a lot of Sunday morning,” said Dasher during a recent interview.

On Nov. 11, the Effingham County native will headline the 12th Annual Oyster Roast in Port Wentworth. “It’s a honky-tonk rock 'n' roll show, not for the faint of heart,” Dasher said.

She grew up listening to 90s country music and her parent’s cassettes from the 80s, “I was just hooked,” she remembered. Dasher’s first concert to see Alan Jackson at the Savannah Civic Center had a lasting impact. “He was so influential on my music and me. I heard his song ‘Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow’ and I know it sounds cliché, but I believed that dream to be true for me, or could be, and so I began to chase this thing.”

Dasher, who now lives in Nashville, went to the University of Georgia about twelve years ago. She remembers taking a job at the Savannah Theatre as Patsy Cline and later at Bass Pro Shops to save money. She sold tracker boats and Mercury outboard motors to support herself while figuring out how to get a major publishing deal. “I was fired for writing songs on the job there at Bass Pro, but I signed a major publishing deal shortly after that, my first one, [then] my second one."

She started to catch more breaks, “Brad Paisley wound up cutting one of the songs I was working on at the time,” and a few years ago, Dasher signed a major deal with Sony Music Nashville RCA. But then, the music industry was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. “I had to figure out how do I put myself out there in a world, in a country, that is so divided right now? And so, I figured, well, we're all fighting over politics, but we can agree on fried chicken and maybe a little bit of Tammy Wynette thrown in there, so I launched a TikTok platform, and it took off.”

At the advice of one of her friends, Dasher started making TikTok videos in 2019 and now has 1.5 million followers on her account. “I made a damn cucumber salad. Because I thought oh my gosh, what are we going to do? Restaurants are shut down, girls my age don't know how to cook. Why don't I teach them, at least teach them what I know?”

Her cooking series called “Stand by Your Pan” is country music and comedy infused. Dasher learned how to cook from her mother, a schoolteacher who sought to it that Dasher and her sister could cook by the time they graduated high school. “Girls my age really don’t know how to cook, said Dasher, who uses her account as a teaching platform. “You’re welcome boys.”

Dasher’s fame on TikTok has led to two appearances on Rachael Ray, as well as campaigns with Frito-Lay and Fender Guitars. “There was a time I didn't have any guitars because I was sold all my guitars,” Dasher said, of struggling to pay her band and bills. “Now to have a Fender endorsement, to be the face of the Fender Player Plus Guitar, I'm just so tickled.”

TikTok, Dasher admits, has been instrumental in growing her diverse, eclectic fanbase. “It's been great to introduce me and my music to non-country music fans, or to people who used to listen to country that don't listen to it anymore. So, it’s been so helpful to put me on the map in an industry where it takes a lot of money and a lot of political pull, both of which I don't have. It’s allowed me to stay relevant and to have a career.”

Despite her social media fame, she feels most at home on a stage, behind a microphone. “I just love to bring joy to people and to make people laugh or to make them cry in a good way. It’s something that I was born with in my spirit and mother said I could sing before I could talk. And I just think it's what God put inside of me to do.”

"Whether that's singing “I'm Going to Whip Your Redneck Ass,” or songs about Him called “Ugly Houses.” You know, they're gonna get all that on this record that’s coming out this week.”

Her record called “The Other Damn Half,” was released on Oct. 20, and is the follow-up to the first half from a couple of years ago. “I hope they can listen to it and see a little bit of themselves or hear a little bit of themselves in this.” It's been a leap of faith, she said, but the songs are strong, “If you just stripped them down to me and a guitar singing, they would stand on their own, I’d put them up against anything out there.”

Now, she is on her first headlining tour called the Tallboy Tour. “My live show, it's a honkey talk live show. I’m the only female artist in my generation in commercial outlaw, or rock n’ roll world in country music that's traveling with a pedal steel guitar, so I’m really proud of that.”

Whether Dasher is cooking on TikTok or singing at a live performance, she leaves a lasting impression. “I do my best whether I am making a video for one of my social media platforms or whether I'm walking on stage at one of my shows. My goal is just to leave people in a better place than I found them.”

The Port Wentworth Chamber of Commerce will host its 12th annual Oyster Roast, BBQ, and Music Festival from 1-9 p.m. on Veterans’ Day, Saturday, Nov. 11 at 7224 GA-21, Port Wentworth, GA.  This free event will honor veterans and culminate in entertainment by Luke Lander and headliner, Hannah Dasher, followed by a fireworks display. For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/PWOysterRoast

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