Layla Zoe – Breaking Free (Rating 3.5 out of 5)

laylazoeBreaking Free, the 10th and according to the critics the best record Blues guitarist and singer Layla Zoe has released to date, may just be the effort that puts her on the map South of the Canadian border.

Leading off with “Backstage Queen” the rockingest number on this 11 song set, a tune that sounds like some sort of cool hybrid of Led Zeppelin and Rival Sons, the stage is set for an ear-perking experience that will introduce you to a set of back of the barroom pipes and guitar chops the likes of which you probably have not heard in quite some time.

“Why Do We Hurt the Ones We Loves” brings things slow and slow down into Beth Hart territory, and “Wild One” is slinky and sensual, with a side order of sultry, and lyrics that might make you blush.  She is of course, “giving lessons that no blonde can ever keep, she’s a wild one.”  This song features her mentor Sonny Landreth on slide guitar, and is exquisite.

Zoe pretty much rips it up on “Workhorse” with her playing and singing that has more than a minor dusting of Jimi Hendrix meets The Meters on it, and on “Wild Horses,” her one and only cover song on the album she does The Flying Burrito Brothers proud. Like most of us, you probably didn’t previously have Layla Zoe on your musical radar. With this album, a grievous wrong has just been righted.