Musics Emotion Breaking Free with Layla Zoe

Musics Emotion Breaking Free with Layla Zoe

Musics Emotion Breaking Free with Layla Zoe


Layla, her voice and artistry is back with a new studio album Breaking Free on RUF Records. Canadian blues has a town crier to ensure they will be heard on this her tenth album. The firebird is still on fire with passion, verve and the tears of emotional hurt. Layla blends and distills the ups and most certainly the downs of a lifetime of experiences.  This is captured in Why Do We Hurt The Ones We Love, the vocals let out a curdling melodic cry, picking up reflected and clarified by Jan Laacks control of the six-strings of his guitar.

Layla is a phenomenon, her stage presence is electrifying and Breaking Free has captured and bottled it though this is a studio album. The songs are produced so that the raw intensity is purified but never neutralized. The tempo changes the voice is soft, beguiling, raunchy and definitely seductive on Wild One. The wizardry of Sonny Landreth’s slide adds to the seductive magic and you are captured by the undercurrent of danger as Layla is the Wild One. The album is about music that will not be caged moving seamlessly from Rock to Blues with soul and attitude. It is so easy to simply compare to the greats from the past whose music lives on in our consciousness, her voice a 21st century Joplin, Sweet Angel with twinges of Hendrix but above all Zoe and her band are themselves and produce music for the here and now.  The songs are about love, hurt the music business and politics. The music business is tough and at the same time addictive, Backstage Queen opens with a stamp of the drums and you can imagine a stomp of Layla’s booted foot before her voice crashes the party.

The guitar is blues with chords that are rich in the feeling of the blues. They curl around the music and then Highways Of Tears opens up creating the musical arena for Layla. Highway Of Tears, the song implores and asks questions and then fades away and the guitar takes up the refrain. Layla sings ‘I end up so ashamed of my Country’ as she sings of the politics of women and children lost and cold. A protest song that pulls deep into your soul. The tempo slows and horses are a theme on two of the numbers which have all been written by Jan.  Work Horse has more of the great rhythm that lays a deep base for Layla and Jans as Gregor Sonnerberg (bass and keys) joins drummer Hardy Fischotter to give the track an attitude. Strumming of acoustic guitar cools down the tempo and the gentler side of Layla’s talent brings us Wild Horses. This is wildness tamed but never diminished the simplicity gives the lyrics strength and the perseverance of life wins through.  Closing with He Loves Me, keys take control and we are left feeling good as Layla knows we are Breaking Free through her music.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Breaking Free – Layla ZoeRUF Records

Track Listing

  1. Backstage Queen
  2. Why Do We Hurt The Ones We Love
  3. Wild One
  4. Highway Of Tears
  5. Breaking Free
  6. Work Horse
  7. Sweet Angel
  8. Run Away
  9. Wild Horses
  10. A Good Man
  11. He Loves Me

Bluesdoodles Dozen Albums of 2015 & more…..

Bluesdoodles Dozen Albums of 2015 & more…..  Album 2015 – Live Album 2015 and Artists & Bands to watch out for in 2016!

Having reviewed numerous albums this year Bluesdoodles has listened to Blues, Americana, Rock and so much more – more importantly the music has been fabulous.

Bluesdoodles picks of 2015 HERE – Forty Three Albums that stood out from the crowd. The albums will be on my play list long into 2016 and beyond…

Bluesdoodles Album of 2015


King KingReaching For The Light

Bluesdoodles Live Album of 2015


Ian Siegal – One Night In Amsterdam


Bluesdoodles Dozen


Devon Allman – Ragged and Dirty



Danny & The Champions of the World – What Kind Of Love



Buddy Guy – Born To Play Guitar



Joel Hoekstra’s 13 – Dying To Live



King King – Reaching For The Light


CL - CD Cover-1

Connie Lush – Renaissance



Chantel McGregor – Lose Control


Danni Nicholls - 'Mockingbird Lane' - cover (300dpi)

Danni Nicholls – Mockingbird Lane


danpatlansky cd

Dan Patlansky – Dear Silence Thieves



Joe Satriani – Shockwave Supernova



Guy Tortora – Bluesman In A Boneyard



Walter Trout – Battle Scars



Bluesdoodles Quartet of Live Albums


BabaJack Live Cover banner fb

Babajack – Babajack Live



Erja Lyytinen – Live In London



Ian Siegal – One Night In Amsterdam



Layla Zoe – Spirit of 66



Bluesdoodles One’s To Listen Live & Recorded

 (alphabetical order)


Rebecca Downes

Della Grants

Husky Tones


Jar Family

Kaz Hawkins

LaVendore Rogue

Elliot Morris

Tristan McKay

Red Butler




Bluesdoodles – Pick Of The Bunch 2015

Pick Of The Bunch 2015 ~
The order is random all are brilliant and in with a shout for the Bluesdoodles Dozen of 2015..

These are from the albums I have listened to and reviewed throughout 2015 – this is my subjective collection happy for others to disagree. Bluesdoodles wants to thank every artist who has submitted music to be reviewed I listen and will always be honest and fair

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Fish – A Feast Of Consequences
Joel Fisk & The Breakdown – The Well
Dan Patlansky – Dear Silence Thieves
John Mayall – A Special Life
Giles Hedley – Rain Is Such A Lonesome Sound
Lisa Mills – I’m Changing re-mix
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman – Tomorrow Will Follow Today
Ian Siegal – One Night In Amsterdam
Dani Wilde – Songs About
Joe Satriani – Shockwave Supernova
Guy Tortora – Bluesman In A Boneyard
Danny & The Champions of the World – What Kind Of Love
Gill Landry – Gill Landry
LaVendore Rogue – Light Up With
Mark Pontin – Textures
Aynsley Lister – Home
Samantha Fish – Wild Heart
Little Devils – The Storm Inside
Erja Lyytinen – Live In London
Beth Hart – Better Than Home
David Phillips – If I Had Wings
Karen Lovely – Ten Miles of Bad Road
Micke Bjorklof & Blues Strip – Ain’t Bad Yet
King King – Reaching For The Light
Devon Allman – Ragged and Dirty
Joe Louis Walker – Everybody Wants A Piece
Danni Nicholls – Mockingbird Lane
Layla Zoe – Live at The Spirit of 66
Joel Hoekstra’s 13 – Dying To Live
Chantel McGregor – Lose Control
Babajack – Babajack Live
Jar Family – Family First
Craig Finn – Faith In The Future
Buddy Guy – Born To Play Guitar
Delta Deep – Delta Deep
Kaz Hawkins – Get Ready
Groanbox – Groanbox
Jimbo Mathus – Blue Healer
Eddie Martin Big Red Radio- Live in Tuscany
Mike Zito & The Wheel – Keep Coming Back
Connie Lush – Renaissance
AndersonPonty Band – Better Late Than Never
Walter Trout – Battle Scars

Bluesdoodles ~ Pick Of The Bunch Mar – June 2015

The Cream of the 45 CD’s Bluesdoodles has reviewed in the second quarter of 2015; what amazing talent there is out in the world musicians playing from pubs to arena’s all willing to record the music to be judged, download and purchased. Bluesdoodles is the first to admit the scoring is subjective there will always be music that just means that bit more to you so albums not included on the lists are still excellent; definitely worth listening to and purchasing especially go see music live at venues near you support music and the artists who travel the roads so we can hear it in the flesh.

This is the first list of 2015 and all of these will be in with a shout for the Bluesdoodles Dozen of 2015..

Joe Satriani – Shockwave Supernova
Guy Tortora – Bluesman In A Boneyard
Danny & The Champions of the World – What Kind Of Love
Gill Landry – Gill Landry

Aynsley Lister – Home
Samantha Fish – Wild Heart
Little Devils – The Storm Inside
Erja Lyytinen – Live In London

Beth Hart – Better Than Home
David Phillips – If I Had Wings
Micke Bjorklof & Blues Strip – Ain’t Bad Yet
Giles Hedley – Rain Is Such A Lonesome Sound

King King – Reaching For The Light
Devon Allman – Ragged and Dirty
Layla Zoe – Live at The Spirit of 66

Blues On The Farm 2015


A weekend that was crammed with delights for your taste buds anStation House - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0002ld musical ear and the weather was kind. Whether you like a hot cup of tea, a summer fruity jug of Pimms or real ale and cider the liquid refreshment was available on tap and consumed with relish by the number of empty barrels by late Sunday evening. The food was varied from falafel and all things veggie, curries chips and hog roast all served with a smile and provided a tasty appetizer between the music shows; then there were the hot sweet freshly cooked doughnuts to be dipped in sugar or cinnamon not licking your lips between the bites was impossible! Face painting and henna art were enjoyed by adults and children alike! Then at this friendly festival there was the music with so many highlights and acts that hit the spot it seems a tad unfair to select a few but they were the sparklers and cherries that stood out of the cocktail of delights that Julian and his team had artfully blended to form Blues On The Farm 2015. Friday was full of shows that just prove the diversity and depth of British Blues for me it had to be The Jar Family they add that dimension that make festivals fizz and sparkle closely followed by Layla Zoe, The Hoax and the final special moment the firework lighting up the sky Mud Morganfield and his authentic blues. The sparkle in Saturdays cocktail definitely shaken rather than stirred was Kaz Hawkins and her Band O’ Men and Sunday’s it had to be that act with a difference with fire in its cocktail mix Rodney Brannigan & John Pointer where beat box meets acoustic with a novelty trick or two thrown in. We are now counting down to the 25th Blues on The Farm 2016.


From Thursday evening through to Sunday night, the weather stayed fine, the sun shone, people had fun, food was enjoyed and the beer and Pimms flowed what more do you need to make everything perfect quality live music and that we all had with the twenty live acts and a drum workshop it was a full festival banquet.
Opening the event were two fine bands that got the crowds in the mood and the campers full of party spirit, with the surprise of an impromptu guest singer when Jo Harman joined Kokomo on stage. Friday afternoon the crowds swelled as the award of a Friday afternoon away from the office were rewarded by a talented young band Stark who a put the electric into rocky blues with a different way of playing the resonator and arrangements of classics including some Blind Willie Jefferson. They were fun and entertaining a young band with lots to offer. As ever this is the festival that rings the changes no band is ever the same as the rest on the set, with a quick sound check and the ever superb sound and lighting men had the stage ready for a five piece Owen and the Mockingbirds they knew how to entertain with their country blues with self-penned numbers that, despite at times lacking that magic that makes them different, the appreciative crowd enjoyed this knowing that the choice of beers and cider to be tasted throughout the weekend and then the lure of yummy doughnut rings would provide entertaining accompaniment.

The Jar Family  - Friday BotF - June 2015_0067lReturning again this year following a successful debut at the festival in 2015 The Jar Family built up the tempo and added their unique, eclectic mix of folk, roots and a touch of Hartlepool Americana shaped into their music, which they call Industrial Folk. They certainly didn’t disappoint they were very good last year but the excelled in 2015, a team of six men make the jar full of music that fills the marquee, across the field and into the campsite beckoning everyone to get up dance, smile and enjoy this band that adds a spark to any festival. They delivered a spellbinding set as they all took turns to lead sharing vocal duties with their fine tuneful voices and songs that reflect the experiences of life of folk today, they took the roof off the marquee and no wonder an encore was screamed for and they happily obliged, as they left the stage the whole festival wished Lee a happy wedding day on the Saturday. How was Julian going to follow that act, easy for a man who has planned festivals for twenty-four years he follows up with three headline acts in a row, Layla Zoe; The Hoax and Mud Morganfield who just kept raising the excitement of the festival.
Layla Zoe  - Friday BotF - June 2015_0068lLayla Zoe knows how to pull the crowd in close she has a voice that is full of emotion mirroring the drama she brings to the stage with her flowing hair and raunchy approach to her interaction with her guitarist and all the good things musically, the rhythm section is solid and the guitars solos were pure delight; she showcased her latest album Live At Spirit 66 and The Lily was a special moment in the set but the real tingling on the back of the neck was her a Capella encore of The Beatles Let It Be; follow that The Hoax. They certainly did returning once again to the farm having first performed at Pump Farm twenty-two years ago we were all so much The Hoax  - Friday BotF - June 2015_0041lyounger then. The group is as popular today when they play a few special gigs when they can all get together. Jesse’s guitar work is sublime with Jon to match at the other side of the stage and Hugh as the frontman still draws our attention. They are still a British Blues super group the tent was crammed and the fans up front were transfixed as they sang along to every lyric they played our favourites and raised the roof with FeedingMud Morganfield  - Friday BotF - June 2015_0067l Time, Gimme A Drink and Shine On were mesmerising as the music cascaded up and down your spine they have the Hoax effect on audiences every time they step onto the stage. The sky was darkening as midsummer sun set on closing this night of festival delight was Mud Morganfield, with his authentic Chicago Blues sound, close your eyes and it is his father the great Muddy Waters on the stage. Leaving you wanting more and already wanting more music tomorrow beckons with another line-up of delights.

Ricky Cool and the In Crowd - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0046lBeer tent visited another ale sampled and Idlewood a young band with loads of potential got the blues tempo underway. There self-penned numbers showed the power of harmonising and had a British pop blues feel that certainly had a pleasing tone. The tempo was raised with a Memphis/Detroit take on the blues when Ricky Cool and the In Crowd stepped up onto the stage. They delivered an accomplished set of rock n’ roll with the twin sax and the hint of swing this was Saturday afternoon dance and party time as we heard some Booker T and so much more. Following the opening acts the vibe was good as the quartet of acts to follow beckoned, the first of this lucky four-leaf clover of blues was the effervescent Sam Kelly’s Station House. Station House - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0015lThey are always a welcome sight on the stage and a pleasing cocktail of free-form eclectic music that stirs you from the sole of your feet to the top of the head. The whole set was perfect for a Saturday afternoon with a twist of funk; a dollop of bleggae and the delight of listening to a quintet of musicians who just love to play the music that sets them on fire. Spy on bass is the smartest player and Sam on drums kicks the band into action their version of Pink Floyd’s Breathe captivated and I Shot The sheriff was fun come back soon you are welcome every time to this friendly festival. Now we have Ben Poole - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0148lsome heavy blues guitar delivered with attitude Ben Poole strode on to stage and let his guitar do the talking, raising the volume and clear any cobwebs we had. Hey Joe is definitely his festival piece with the intriguing intro, you recognise then as you pinpoint the tune he launches into a full assault making this Hendrix number his own.

Kaz Hawkins - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0102lWho could follow that high voltage performance well a lady from Belfast could and did the one and only Kaz Hawkins & Her Band O Men. This is a high energy live act that focusses around the power and delivery of Kaz’s vocals with the added swish of petticoats, stomp of her bright red boots; on top of all that she can play guitar. None of this would be possible without the skill of her band O Men who play to her tune with skill and make sure they are keeping up with her random approach to her show. She has stage presence nay stage domination she is a flash of polka dot whose voice sings the blues with a gruffness, gospel with clarity and her rendition of Nina Simone’s Feelin’ Good the second of the festival was for me the best I have ever heard. The croJive Aces - Saturday BotF - June 2015_0052lThe crowd at times were rowdy but she dealt with them there is a no-nonsense approach to Kaz when singing her music and dealing with fools in the crowd, if you missed her this weekend check out the act and get to see her soon; closing with Etta James’ I Just Want To Make Love To You we were in heaven and wanted more. There was more music, this was time to refresh yourselves, put on your dancing shoes as the stage was set for The Jive Aces; a band coordinated in eye-catching yellow they swung into action with some jive and rock n’ roll numbers that were the perfect finale to party Saturday night away.

Malaya Blue - Sunday BotF - June 2015_0028lWith a few hours’ sleep it was all too soon the final day many friends met and new friends made it was time for the music opening with Malaya Blue who coincided opening the last day of the festival with the launch of her single Hope from her forthcoming album. Following up from Bourbon Street, Malaya’s approach to the blues is very different form the energy charged approach of the two power divas Layla and Kaz. Malaya’s approach is gentler more constrained and it is fantastic to have three women heading talented bands one each day for the festival; this set-up is fairly new and building their presence on the circuit which will surely grow as we get to know Malaya’s brand of blues with soul. The next band, The Cajun Roosters, drew the audience away from the sun and into the stage area to hear Louisiana Cajun based music, with fiddle and squeeze box Cajun Rooster - Sunday BotF - June 2015_0056lthis was sunny afternoon music you have to dance and smile as the beat with its infectious quality as much of the set was sung in French patois. Now newt was something completely different, a duo of Rodney Brannigan and John Pointer. Rodney has entertained this festival before and today accompanied by a fellow Texan he added more to the always entertaining event. There was everything in the set some great acoustic guitar with the addition of percussive fingerstyle guitar pioneered by Michael Hedges, which captivated everyone listening this afternoon. The Stomp box was huge, the beat box was a stylish and the mix of instruments changed with a blink of an eyelid. This was a complex act Rodney Branigan and John Pointer - Sunday BotF - June 2015_0059lfor any sound desk with twenty-seven inputs but nothing phases BOTF who are never afraid to book acts that stretch your boundaries and delight every time . Closing the imaginative set with his trademark playing two guitars at the same time Rodney once again delivered what a festival needs some excitement this certainly pleased the crowds with its originality, energy and skills. Phew after that you need to draw breath and before you know it Champion Doug Veitch changed the groove again with a mix of Cajun swing with a brass section which added energy and that unique musical range. We saw some country dancing as the audience enthusiastically joined in with the musical delights, a real feel-good band playing music they love with the audience warming to the show with every song delivered. With just two bands left on the longest day that coincided with Father’s Day there were lots of happy people who were delighted to dance and join in the fun as Brilleaux from New Zealand delivered Dr Feelgood style music much of which Brilleaux - Sunday BotF - June 2015_0024lwere self-penned. In between they played some great early British R ‘n’ B from Yardbirds to Billy Fury. This was a crowd pleasing high energy set and the delight of the band and many of the audience was when John Potter key board player in bands with WilKo Johnson including Solid Sender, Wilko Johnson Band adding some authentic 1960’s vibe. This was a real festival moment that everyone present will remember for a long time leaving Brothers Groove to close this 24th Blues On The Farm Festival. This was the perfect set to bring a blues festival to a cheering, barnstorming close leaving everyone wanting more music and countdown to the twenty-fifth anniversary Blues on The Farm Festival; with Julian asking if we had any bands we want to hear next year, let him know and they will be considered!

In Conversation with Julian Moores – Blues on The Farm



Blues on The Farm
Thursday 19th June – Sunday 21st June 2015
The Friendly Festival



Liz at Bluesdoodles had a wonderful conversation with Julian Moores about this year’s Blues on The Farm festival delivering music from Thursday 17th June through to Sunday evening 21st June; a perfect way to celebrate mid-summer and the delight of live music in convivial company.

Bluesdoodles: What has 24th year of Blues on the Farm to offer this year to stand out from the crowded festival calendar?

Julian: Every single band from the opening act Kokomo from 7.30pm on Thursday 18th through to the last act of the weekend Brothers Groove on stage from 9pm Sunday 21st until the crowds let them go; every act has a musical story to create the jigsaw of styles that makes this the friendliest festival in Britain and keeps the festival fresh and full of energy that keeps people coming back every year..

Bluesdoodles: You mention every band is chosen with shaping the festival – tell everyone about how each day works across the weekend.

Julian: We try to give each day a feel that suits the audiences from experiences gained from the feedback we get every year the majority is positive and we always welcome constructive criticism so we keep improving the experience for festival goers, musicians and team Blues on the Farm.
THURSDAY 18th June: we have tried lots of formats ranging from meet and greets for the campers to local bands; this year is a departure from the norm. We have two bands that are a mix of Blues/funk/soul to get things going; lots of people love this style bringing back memories of many bands including Average White Band. The format for the evening is a good time for everyone who arrives on a Thursday often after a long journey and for people living locally appealing to the many people locally who love the ale we serve and this style of music on a summer’s evening and so makes it a standalone gig as well.

FRIDAY 19th June: This year we have six bands that will bring blues music that excites included in the mix are Jar Family back by popular demand after delighting the festival last year on a warm Sunday afternoon, their blues with a steampunk attitude hit the right spot. We also welcome back the ever popular band The Hoax and the return of Mud Morganfield who brings the spirit of Muddy Waters into the festival, on his only visit to U.K. this summer. Into the mix we have a young and talented band Stark and Owen & The Mockingbirds an act from the South Coast plus the power of Canadian firebird Layla Zoe Friday is a day of wall to wall music delivered with passion.

SATURDAY 20th June: Today is party day, we all want fun music, dancing and a feeling that the festival and time out from our daily routines will go on and on, hence why we end the day with a feel good band The Jive Aces. We also will delight everyone who loves blues guitar with Ben Poole who with his band always impresses the crowds, Kaz Hawkins & Her Band O’ Men we think is the hidden gem of the festival she will be a new act to many and her vocals are awesome. Sam Kelly’s Station House will once again bring his blues rhythm to a Saturday that has a musical zing from beginning to end.

SUNDAY 21st June: We always say Sunday is a day for good quality happy music and as ever is a mixed bag of music that is family friendly for all ages to enjoy and have positive memories of the Friendliest Festival in Britain today. Opening with a drum workshop delivered by the great raconteur Sam Kelly, he loves to share his knowledge and has a lovely calmness about him as he promotes live music. Into the mix we have some Cajun from The Roosters back in the saddle with his Cajun reggae is Champion Doug Veitch, Brilleaux from New Zealand named after Dr Feelgood’s Lee Brilleaux; and closing with Brothers Groove who put down a good groove as people drift away and return home. Counting down the days until Blues on the Farm 2016 our 25th anniversary.

Bluesdoodles: Blues On The Farm definitely delivers the music, what else is there that makes this a festival to remember and keep returning

Julian: We have camping facilities for tents and motorhomes; these are in the many fields never far away from the action, with the spaces divided by mature tree breaks creating the feel that you are in your own private space. The safety of our campers is assured with our Security Stewards will be on patrol 24 hours and any emergencies at night can be referred to them.
Refreshments: The beer tent is always popular with a range of ales (up to 20 to choose from) and ciders; along with non-alcoholic beverages. We also have a range of food stalls to suit every ones tastes and plenty of tea and coffee.

Bluesdoodles: What keeps you motivated to keep going to the festival every year; when you set the bar higher and higher as each year builds on the previous festival?

Julian: The enthusiastic response from people at the festival; so many people stop and tell me how they love the music, and the atmosphere. We want to make this a real holiday experience for people who come for the weekend building a rapport with people that return ever year they are the real friends of the festivals. Then there are the letters, messages on Facebook and the flowers that Cath gets sent as a thank you we really appreciate the personal connection people have.
The feedback we get is amazing from bands who have said BOTF artist are valued to the dedicated who collect the memorabilia of the event, tickets, programmes and T Shirts every year; we have become part of festival attendees summer calendar, we love meeting and greeting everyone. To me it is delivering a fabulous festival that lives up to its name the Friendliest Festival in Britain. As the marque comes down, the litter cleared we start the booking of bands for 2016.

Blues on the Farm
Pump Bottom Farm,
Birdham Rd.
West Sussex, PO20 7EH

Follow FAQ for more information

TICKET PRICES: Can be purchased through website

ADULT TICKET – £129.00
CHILD Aged 10 to 15 £49.50 ~ under 10’s get in free

EVENING ONLY ADULT – 18.30 – 24.00 ~ Two Bands – £28.00
EVENING ONLY CHILD Aged 10 to 15 £14.00 ~ under 10’s get in free

ALL DAY CHILD Aged 10 to 15 £18.00 ~ under 10’s get in free

EVENING ONLY 18.30 – 24.00 ADULT – 18.30 – 25.00 ~ Three Bands – £25.00
EVENING ONLY 18.30 – 24.00 CHILD Aged 10 to 15 £12.00 ~ under 10’s get in free

ALL DAY CHILD Aged 10 to 15 £17.50 ~ under 10’s get in free

EVENING ONLY 18.30 – 24.00 ADULT – 18.30 – 25.00 ~ Three Bands – £25.00
EVENING ONLY 18.30 – 24.00 CHILD Aged 10 to 15 £12.00 ~ under 10’s get in free

ALL DAY CHILD Aged 10 to 15 £15.00 ~ under 10’s get in free

EVENING ONLY 18.30 – 24.00 ADULT – 18.30 – 25.00 ~ Three Bands – £25.00
EVENING ONLY 18.30 – 24.00 CHILD Aged 10 to 15 £12.00 ~ under 10’s get in free

To Buy Tickets click ONLINE or Ticket Hotline: 01243 773828 or 01243 539072
For more information check out Blues On The Farm website

Photo Gallery of 2015 – Liz Aiken Photography

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CD Review: Layla Zoe ~ Live At Spirit 66



Layla Zoe
Live At Spirit 66
Cable Cars Records


Layla Zoe, live on stage is an act to enjoy and the music and atmosphere absorbs every emotion and spits them back out! This has been achieved in this recording at a favourite venue of hers Route 66, on this double CD mimicking the shape of a two act show, we can take a breath and refresh our glasses, as the combination of the firebird’s vocals with its rough edge, soulful delivery and a range that hits the spot from the bottom to the top. Layla has the freedom to perform with a fluid and dynamic style thanks to her band of trusted men that makes the music burn and drive the lyrics to the top line. Scintillating guitar work from Jan Laacks has the power to balance the vocals and at the same time be gentle and the control on Green Eyed Lover is a perfect example of this. The rhythm section throughout has the solid foundation that zings with skill and delivery thanks to Gregor Sonnenberg on bass and drumming courtesy of Hardy Fischotter. This recording is full of energy and verve and the opening track I’ve Been Down certainly would warm up the atmosphere in any club or festival; the rawness of her voice and the driving relentless beat of the band gives this blues number a heavy feel without ever losing its shape. This is a show that will bring you the full variety of every shade of the electric blues. The drumming intro of I Choose You sets the tempo for this number and the beat is relentless and the guitar playing with its magical licks is sublime but the winner every time is the voice; her interpretation of every song is sometimes subtle, sometimes raw emotion but always full of personal honesty. The time frame is set before In Her Mother’s House as she is off to Canada to her Mother’s House for Christmas, there is only hothouse air in the venue however cold it maybe outside; this is the feeling of how special it is to be home. A melodic rocky blues number that just oozes the warmth of being home safe and secure in a place you can be yourself.
The second act or disc two opens with the title track from her last album The Lily, a beautiful track in the studio but live has a gentle opening from the sticks, the guitar has an ethereal feel, the beat picks up and Layla joins in now words are needed for that shiver music sends down your spine when it hits that spot and then picking up the lyrics delivered as a prayer every word laden with emotions gained through life’s experience, a special number live, promising that the second CD is as powerful as the first. The guitar opening of Why You So Afraid is spellbinding full of controlled rawness and matches the tone set by Layla. Jan and her work together in a true partnership and the backing vocals from Jan & Gregor really underline the chorus line. The longest track on the album is one that Layla owns on the stage It’s A Man’s World; sit back, close your eyes and let the music swallow you for the musical journey you are being carried on over the next twenty minutes, what a performance from Layla and her band. The timing is astounding and the change in tempo, sound levels and emphasis throughout makes this track very special; we hear her voice as an echo and full on this is a track that allows everyone to shine bright in the shadow of the firebird. The closing track has Layla sing a capella with a powerful, gospel inspired version of The Beatles Let It Be, as the notes die away applause is spontaneous Layla thanks everyone and with a goodnight the venue falls silent truly catching the closing moments of a great concert.

Throughout the double album we hear Layla’s spoken voice with tales behind many of the tracks, as with any live event you get to know the person as well as the music. The selection of tracks for the recorded show is a great mix with a selection of tracks from The Lily interspersed with tracks from earlier albums and those she loves to perform live. This is a live recorded album that has a purpose not just the re-hashing of previously recorded material. And as ever the live sound has that extra tension and shape that is what makes live music so wonderful.
As Layla herself says on the cover “Where music takes us is a spiritual place”; so very true and encapsulates the feeling of this mighty fine live album that delivers the essence of Layla and her band. The only negative is a video would have been a bonus to see the firebird in action on stage as well as hearing the mighty fine music.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch


Track Listing
1. I’ve Been Down
2. Pull Yourself Together
3. I Choose You
4. Green Eyed Lover
5. Gemini Heart
6. In Her Mother’s House
7. They Lie

1. The Lily
2. Why You So Afraid
3. Never Met A Man Like You
4. It’s A Man’s World
5. Yer Blues
6. Let It Be

Bluesdoodles Top Fifteen Gigs 2014

The top fifteen bluesdoodles gigs 2014 – in alphabetical order…

Jeff Beck
Katie Bradley & Kirk Fletcher
Cut The Funk
Grainne Duffy
JJ Grey & Mofro & Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family
Hamilton Loomis
Jo Harman
Hat Fitz & Cara
Heritage Blues Orchestra
Layla Zoe
Royal Southern Brotherhood
Matt Schofield
Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus
Mike Zito

Sadly with any list I have missed of some amazing nights of live music …… Live music is amazing and there are fabulous venues around the country so get out and enjoy quality live music.

Make your 2015 resolution – go see bands you love and go see bands for the first time – it is fun seeing new bands my favourites for 2014 were Rita Payne, Ali Clinton and Midnight Ramble

Layla Zoe @ Robin 2 ~ July 2014

Tone Tanner -  Robin 2 -  July 2014_0003lSetting the evening of live music at The Robin 2 on this sunny Monday evening was acoustic solo performer Tone Tanner who did his personal take on a selection of standards including Freddy King; Leadbetter, Rory Gallagher and into this mix some self-penned numbers.

Ali Clinton Band -  Robin 2 -  July 2014_0063lAli Clinton Band upped the tempo as a trio of rock musicians with Ali up front on guitar and vocals , drummer and keys; the guitar sound from Ali was impressive, when you see this dynamic young artists impressive playing experience it all becomes clear as having played the guitar since the age of 7 he was playing with Irish legend Pat McManus and having his first album appearance on “2PM” then at the age of 16, playing guitar for Uli Jon Roth’s band the experience gained touring UK & U.S.A. Is self-evident as he confidently fronted the band and engaged the audience. Ali Clinton Band -  Robin 2 -  July 2014_0079l
This is a band that is full of young raw talent with Owen Thomas on drums and Paul Rahme on keys; this is a trio that will just grow and grow as they hone their skills and deliver an E.P. reflecting the talent displayed whether delivering covers or some of Ali’s self-penned numbers. The rendition of Queen’s; Crazy was excellent and his fitting tribute to Johnny Winter delivering a fine version of Medicine Man on a Firebird as well true respect for a great artist. This is a guitar talent to watch and a band that should be heard live at venues across the land.


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Layla Zoe -  Robin 2 -  July 2014_0393lThen as the shadows lengthened Layla Zoe and her band stepped onto the stage for the last night of her very successful first U.K. Tour and the crowd was excitedly awaiting her the voice they had heard so much about on the social network buzz. Layla opened with a spine-tingling gospel A Capella; O Lord I Want You To Help Me the audience were instantly hooked into the music and just wanted to sit back, listen and be entertained. Layla captivated the audience, she was mesmerizing with her sexy curvy dancing during the numbers and her firebrand hair swishing and swirling as Layla sung her way into everybody’s heart and soul. Layla Zoe -  Robin 2 -  July 2014_0397lIt is not surprising that she is known as Canada’s Lady of the Blues, with her expressive voice that winds itself around the words and then emotionally engages with the music, picking up the beat twirling the song into a complete package that ebbs and flows from the stage across the auditorium and fades into the night air. She has an eclectic sound mixing up gospel, rock soul but always the blues in every shade flowing through the tracks with the help of her talented band Hardy Fischoetter, Drums and Gregor Sonnenberg completing the rhythm section and to her right Jan Laacks on guitar.

The musicianship was perfect providing the backdrop and breathing space for the star of the show Layla and her voice. It is far to simple to say she is a Janis Joplin yes her voice has the power and she has an engaging stage presence but the reality is Layla is a songbird that sings with fire in her belly, compassion in her heart and engages your brain with some poignant and angry lyrics, with reference to inequality and corporation dominance products of today’s society. Layla was the Queen Bee on the Robin 2 stage she was in charge of the band and the audience who were putty in her hands. Layla Zoe -  Robin 2 -  July 2014_0393l

The venue on a Monday night was only half full a tragedy that so many people missed the opportunity to hear the live performance of Layla as she sang a selection of tracks from her sixth and highly acclaimed album The Lily; the title track, The Lily is emotionally charged and sent shivers across your emotional radar as she sang about how she wanted to be remembered and always the music lives on. This was the highlight of the evening and with that she was emotionally drained leaving the stage so that the band could be centre stage and show the audience there collective talents as the band jammed together. Then Layla was back at the front of the stage with They Lie and then a lengthy number which you never wanted to end as she bent the notes, a memorable rendition of It’s A Man’s World, that so suited Layla Zoe’s vocal range.
Then all too soon it was the closing track of the night with a sexy blues number ‘Rock and Roll Guitar Man, from her Sleep Little Girl album Layla teased the guitarist as she explored the riffs he was playing as together they made live music that was interactive, grown-up and fun, blues that howled and made you feel alive. Layla Zoe -  Robin 2 -  July 2014_0546l If anyone says to you blues is boring or staid send them to Layla, Rock & Roll guitar man on You Tube they will have to reassess their description of the blues. This was a show that was full of music and life in the fast lane as the guitar echoed her vocals with mimicry and a mix of tenderness and sex appeal. Layla is full of life and energy that can belt out a number and then quieten a phrase down so the potency of the lyrics seeps into your bones. The band and Layla left the stage and the roar for an encore was truly meant, and Layla stepped back onto the stage finishing the show as she begun alone on the stage and did a sensational A Capella version of The Beatles, Let It Be like I have never heard before, what a talent, thank you for travelling across the channel to truly entertain us, come back very soon we want to hear you again and those that missed you this time will want to find out why you have caused such a stir… Thank you the first lady of the blues……

Layla Zoe -  Robin 2 -  July 2014_0636l

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CD Review – The Lily – Layla Zoe

The Lily by Layla Zoe – Cable Cars records released 30th August 2013
From the very first note sung by Layla Zoe I was enthralled, drawn into the music, making the hairs on the back-of my neck stand up from the first Hallelujah sung with such raw emotion. This is an album where Layla’s vocals are Queen spelling out the strong lyrics producing an intricate palette of sounds with layers of meaning and emotions entwined into the package. This is supported by the sympathetic musical accompaniment of Henrik Freischlader on guitars, Bass, drums and Backing vocals and also from Henrik’s band Moritz Furhop on Hammond Organ.

Layla Zoe sings with confidence and delivers an album that improves every time you listen and it is such that you want to listen again and again as each of the tracks provides a contrast to the others. The Lily is an intense, soulful track in which the words are sung like a rock prayer with lines such as ‘Angels will sing and dance and sway to the blues on my funeral day’, that flow with the consummate guitar playing of Henrik Frieschlader. The track, ‘I Choose You’ has a powerful intro and is more rocky in its approach and the voice drops an octave while more heart rendering lyrics of finding life and hope after drugs and drink, finding sweetness. Despite the often dark words, and experiences remembered, the grieving and the acceptance of death this is an album that provides hope with the blues that makes you want to reach for re-birth. This is spiritual blues that is reflected in the opening gospel track of ‘Glory, Glory Hallelujah’. This is an album produced with thought, love and care delivered by two superb musicians who what to convey the blues to you and they certainly achieve this. Every track is a little bit special but the flower at the centre of the bouquet is the stellar track of the album, it is a difficult if not impossible task that Henrik and Layla have set themselves to better ‘The Lily’.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of

Listen and buy – and hopefully Layla will be touring the U.K. very soon.