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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ruf Records artist: Layla Zoe - Breaking Free - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Breaking Free, from Layla Zoe, and it's powerful. Opening with Backstage Queen, a power blues rocker, you know you are in for something special. Layla Zoe has a special voice and has surrounded with a terrific band featuring Jan Laacks on guitars and Hardy Fischotter on drums. This is a power setting sounding like nothing I've heard since John Bonham died with over the top drum work. Excellent! Why We Hurt The Ones We Love, highlights the richness of Zoe's voice with subtle organ work and acoustic guitar by Laack. With nicely crafted electric guitar soloing, the track has a blend of Marshall Tucker Band and the Rolling Stones. Slide genius, Sonny Landreth, lays in beautiful slide riffs on Wild One, a slinky track with glistening guitar chords and nice tom tom work by Fischotter. Very nice! Blues ballad, Highway of Tears, features a really soulful lead guitar melody and an emotional vocal delivery by Zoe. A powerful track. Title track, Breaking Free has an interesting funk, rock feel with a blues balance. With a super balance of lead and backing vocals over a solid melody, this is a strong radio contender. Funky, Work Horse, has a strong blues base and a great rhythm. With this groove it's a sure thing. Sweet Angel is a mellow, pop track with smooth lap steel guitar work creating texture under a nicely crafted melody. Run Away is a lumbering blues rocker with strong vocals and interesting ambiance guitar chords and strong lead guitar riffs. Laacks conjures up some really hot riffs against the rock hard drum work of Fischotter making this one of my favorite tracks on the release. Jagger/Richards composition, Wild Horses, has always been one of my favorite rock tracks and Zoe presents a real sensitive version of the track with some of her richest vocals on the release, accompanied only by Laacks on acoustic guitar and backing vocals. Blues ballad, A Good Man, with a light country rock flavor, is pure radio strong. Laacks adds clean guitar backing and Fischotter's drumming is precise and clever. Wrapping the release is He Loves Me, a solemn ballad featuring Zoe accompanied by Gregor Sonnenberg on keys. Very nice closer to a strong release.

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