Layla Zoe certainly didn’t make it easy for herself. 2018’s superb double-disc ‘Gemini’ seemed to say everything that could be said and in the best way possible. It was electric, it was Blues, Funk, Gospel and Rock. It was the sum of all the releases before it. The subsequent ‘Retrospective Tour’ and disc suggested a watershed moment had been reached. Did it also leave the self-proclaimed firegirl literally with ‘Nowhere Left To Go’? – is this perhaps the aptest album title ever penned? Well, no, as it thankfully turns out. Whilst NLTG doesn’t re-invent the wheel as far as Layla’s music is concerned it is, thanks to plenty of new faces behind the songs, still a fresh as well as a strong statement from the heart. It also still showcases the lady’s amazing voice with that trademark emotional intensity that is the secret of Layla Zoe’s success.
‘Blue Sisters’ is this year’s title for the RUF Records Blues Caravan Tour that rolled into Bonn on Sunday. Following on from last years ‘Guitars with Guitars’ though perhaps ‘Maidens with Microphones’ would have been more in keeping?. Certainly there was Blues in the music, but none of these girls was playing it Bessie Smith style. Texan girl Tasha Taylor had the roots of her Soul star father Johnnie’s sound to draw on, Finland’s Ina Forsman made more than a passing nod to Reggae in her set and Layla Zoe’s closer was clearly tilted firmly in a Rock direction.
Canada’s Darling of the Blues is fast becoming Europe’s Darling too as Layla Zoe continues to conquer the hearts of Blues fans with her irresistible blend of power vocals and ‘from the soul’ performances. Thursday it was Bonn’s turn to feel the heat of the Firegirl at the Harmonie.
Sardinas/Zoe/Baum = Great Music in Bonn
Music with passion is guaranteed at Bonn Harmonie this week: Tuesday (4 Nov) sees Powerhouse electric slide guitar supremo Eric Sardinas in Endenich. Florida born Sardinas is one of the best resonator guitar players in the world. Wednesday (5 Nov) is ‘Ladies Night’ with Canada’s ‘Darling of the Blues’ Layla Zoe tearing up the Harmonie stage with the help of her Bonn guitarist Jan Laacks and support from Bonn’s own legendary Bluesmen Baums Bluesbenders. Great music guaranteed at both shows – don’t miss!
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Henrik Freischlader’s star continues to rise, only recently he could be seen trading licks with Mr Joe Bonamassa onstage. Layla Zoe has also increased her fan-base hugely in Europe in the last months since her excellent second CD on CableCar ‘The Lily’ hit the shops both physically and virtually (internet).
Anything less than an evening of BluesRock magic at the Harmonie would have been a disappointment then, so if you did have a disappointing Wednesday night then you must have been elsewhere – Layla and Henrik both clearly enjoy playing music too much not to give it their best.
I met Layla Zoe for the first time in April 2011. It wasn’t until later that year that I first heard her incredible voice singing live, but I got to witness first hand just how important music was to the girl labelled affectionately ‘Canadas Darling of the Blues’. She had come down to Koblenz for a concert by Ana Popovic and her journey down had been a bad one for reasons I won’t go into, but what I will always remember from that day is Layla suggesting that maybe she could sing a song that evening – as a way to get the bad experience out of her system.
For Layla Zoe music was, and as you will find in my interview still is, the best medicine. Her last release ‘The Lily’ was one of my favourite discs of last year, so when I heard that Layla would be supporting Henrik Freischlader for his show at the Harmonie Bonn on March 19 I took the chance to try and find out why making music is so important to her.