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 doodle paws out of TEN ….
- Backstage Queen
- Why Do We Hurt The Ones We Love
- Wild One
- Highway Of Tears
- Breaking Free
- Work Horse
- Sweet Angel
- Run Away
- Wild Horses
- A Good Man
- He Loves Me