Hannah Dasher will tell you she's a little more Burt Reynolds than Dolly Parton. In both style and attitude, the country phenom, who released her album The Other Damn Half on Oct. 20, looks like she just walked off the set of her favorite film, Smokey and the Bandit. (Even her drumhead and stage backdrop is the Bandit's 77 Trans Am.) And to hear her tell it, Reynolds played a significant role in her path to country stardom. A '90s rerun of the Reynolds and Parton flick The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was where she first caught site of the force of nature that is Parton. ("She had on her tight fit and fringe and big boobs and I started stuffing my bra when I was like seven," she quips. "I just thought, 'When I can afford to dress that way one day, I want to have a wardrobe like that.'")
It's fitting that a freewheeling hero of the silver screen inspired Dasher to chase her own destiny. The Georgia-born singer-songwriter exudes uninhibited badassery. Whether you were introduced to her through her massively popular TikTok account, where she shares music and whips up mouthwatering recipes from her "honkytonk Graceland" Nashville home, or songs such as "You're Gonna Love Me" or "That Thing You Like," it's clear that Dasher is a star. Armed with stage presence, humor and — most of all — staggering talent and career goals that lie somewhere between Elvis and Dolly, Dasher is clearly poised to dominate country music — and anything else she sets her mind to.
"I would love to be a representative of the genre in general, whether it's Hollywood or on the Jimmy Fallon show," Dasher tells Wide Open Country. "I've always wanted to be in a Western. I get a lot of comparisons on TikTok. They call me the brunette Dolly."
A little over a decade ago, Dasher was paying her dues in Music City while making ends meet selling fishing boats at Bass Pro Shop just steps away from the Grand Ole Opry house. In 2019, she made her debut on the Opry's historic stage.
"I've learned that I was a lot stronger than I thought I was," she says of her decade-plus climb. "I still have my Tracker Boats Bass Pro shirt hanging up right over here in the closet, by the way....There's a lot of sacrifice that comes with this gig...there's things back home that you're gonna miss out on....But it's made me more confident in the path that I've taken and the path that God's designed for me."
Like Loretta Lynn, John Prine and Roger Miller before her, balancing humor and whip-smart rural wisdom is a trademark of Dasher's songwriting. After all, in the south, they often go hand in hand.
"I wouldn't say that humor is a part of my songwriting process. Humor is a part of Hannah. So when you come to a live show, you're gonna laugh, right?" she says. "I infuse myself into my music, and if it makes you laugh then great, but, you know, a Southern man tells better jokes, [as] Jason Isbell once said."
Songs such as the cheeky "Crying All the Way to the Bank") ("turning these Cs into double Ds/ I'm drinkin' doubles at the Doubletree") and the vulnerable "Ugly Houses" ("I ain't no fancy castle/ I got too much junk inside/ But if you buy ugly houses, Lord, I'm taking down my for sale sign") are some of the many examples of Dasher's songwriting prowess.
"I never like to show up empty handed in a writers room, and especially — well, I've been here for 10, 12 years now — but as a new writer and a new artist-writer in the room, you've always gotta prove yourself," she says. "So I've had to show up with stuff for years and now people will bring me stuff, which I love. But whether I'm walking in with a line or an idea, I always like to fight for the freshest thing that resonates with me, because I just wanna capture the attention of a listener. I'm writing for the person that's got a thousand things on their mind driving to work, or they may have kids in the backseat yelling, or they may be working out at the gym. I just wanna capture the attention of my listener."
As for her latest release, The Other Damn Half, the 7-track record has something for everyone.
"I hope [listeners] can find something in themselves, whether it's listening to a song like 'Ugly Houses,' which talks about renovation and self-growth and things like that, or if they wanna light their hair on fire, which I've also been known to do, in songs like 'Country Do' — it's got kind of a Zakk Wylde/ Rage Against the Machine kind of a moment going on," Dasher says. "There's lots of pedal steel trickled throughout. 'God's A Good Old Boy' and 'I'm Gonna Whoop Your Redneck Ass,' I mean, it's Hannah Dasher in a sentence, basically. I've been known to kind of ride that line between Saturday night and Sunday morning because I'm just me."
The Other Damn Half is available for purchase here.
Enjoy Country Music?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.