Breaking Free Layla Zoe

Cover Breaking Free

Album info



Label: Ruf Records

Genre: Blues


Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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FLAC 44.1 $ 13.50
  • 1Backstage Queen06:15
  • 2Why Do We Hurt The Ones We Love05:15
  • 3Wild One04:59
  • 4Highway Of Tears11:07
  • 5Breaking Free06:21
  • 6Work Horse04:48
  • 7Sweet Angel08:00
  • 8Run Away06:07
  • 9Wild Horses05:50
  • 10A Good Man05:29
  • 11He Loves Me05:31
  • Total Runtime01:09:42

Info for Breaking Free

Modern life moves fast. It’s easy to stumble through your days, suppress your desires, swallow down your dreams. To hear Layla Zoe sing is to experience an emotional awakening. “I want people to get in touch with the feelings they bury deep inside their hearts,” explains the Canadian singer-songwriter. “I rip people’s hearts out, then put them back in…”

After nine acclaimed albums and too many tear-it-up live shows to count, Breaking Free is the release that confirms Layla’s status as the pack-leader and standout voicebox of Canadian blues. More than that, this tenth album is set to skyrocket her upward trajectory on the international scene, and build on the momentum of 2013’s The Lily (dubbed “thrilling” by The Blues and crowned amongst Downbeat’s Best Albums Of The Year).

Ever since she fell for the blues via her father’s record collection – then fronted his band aged just fourteen – it was clear that Layla had a voice in a million. Those astonishing lungs have led her from early cover bands in British Columbia to her debut solo album in 2005, through sessions with Henrik Freischlader and hook-ups with Sonny Landreth, and onto world-renowned stages from Montreal Jazz Festival to Rockpalast. No wonder that her much-missed friend and occasional collaborator Jeff Healey was once moved to comment: “She’s created probably the biggest buzz vocally of any singer I’ve heard about in years in Toronto. She is wonderful…”

Long-time fans will be itching to hear Layla’s voice on Breaking Free, but for this evolving artist, it’s all about the songs. Recorded at Megaphon Tonstudio in Germany, Breaking Free unveils ten originals – plus a stellar cover of the Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses – that underline the writing chemistry between Layla and guitarist Jan Laacks. “I’m very proud of this album,” says Layla. “The songs get stuck in your head, which is usually the sign of a good one. Jan is so talented and really knows me after the last three years on tour.”

By turns, Breaking Free is tough and tender, wild and wistful, slipping between the poignant, Hendrix-tinged balladry of Sweet Angel, the chiming shimmer of A Good Man and the title track’s slinking rock ‘n’ roll groove. “I’m a music lover of many different genres,” explains Layla, “so this album, like all my albums, reflects that. Jan produced and wrote all the music, and he gave me a great selection of demos to choose from. There’s everything from blues ballads, to blues-rock, to psychedelic rock.”

With recording engineer Martin Meinschäfer on hand to bottle the magic, the studio band was completed by Gregor Sonnenberg (bass/keys) and Hardy Fischötter (drums/percussion), while the touch of slide-guitar maestro Sonny Landreth on Wild One is unmistakable. “Sonny is a good friend of mine and I was so happy to have him as a guest,” recalls Layla. “Also, I think the song suits his style perfectly.”

As the pen behind Breaking Free, meanwhile, Layla reveals herself as a fearless and heartfelt lyricist. “Because of where I am in my life right now,” she says, “several of the songs are about love. But there are also songs about the music business, and a song for my best friend Marsha, who died of a brain aneurysm in 2010. There’s a political song, too, as I always like to have at least one track on each album that talks about current events in the world.”

Layla and her band have already debuted a fistful of the Breaking Free songs on tour in late 2015, with the feverish response helping to cement the tracklisting. “It was really special to see how the fans reacted and how much positive feedback we got,” she says. “Being on the road can be a curse and a blessing, but anytime I get tired, I’m always revived the moment I step onstage and connect with the audience. The music and the fans give me everything I need to carry on.”

Now, as she unveils that roof-raising material in its studio form, the buzz on the international blues scene is deafening. Breaking Free and breaking through, in 2016, Layla Zoe comes armed with the album that delivers on her skyscraping potential. Hang on to your hearts…

Layla Zoe, vocals
Jan Laacks, guitar, percussions, organ, backing vocals
Gregor Sonnenberg, bass, organ, keyboards
Hardy Fischötter, drums, percussions
Sonny Landreth, guitar (on Wild On)

Layla Zoe
Named "Canada's Darling of the Blues" by the press and often compared to Janis Joplin for her raw and emotional performances on stage, Layla Zoe was born in British Columbia, Canada in the late 70's. Raised on her father's love of the blues and a diverse record collection, she started singing at an early age and had her first experiences on stage with her father's band at age fourteen. Now after releasing seven albums (You Will, Shades of Blue, Live at Errington Hall, Hoochie Coochie Woman, The Firegirl, Sleep Little Girl and The Lily), penning a self-published book of poetry (Diary of a Firegirl), and moving from BC to Toronto to Montreal in the past 7 years, Layla has gained a reputation as one of the hardest working young blues women in Canada.

Following a win at the Compo10 Blues Songwriting Competition in Finland in 2006, Layla began touring Europe and has made a name for herself on festival stages and blues clubs in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and most recently the Czech Republic and Poland. Receiving high praise from the late Jeff Healey after performing with him at his club in Toronto, Layla continues to wow audiences all over the world with her "Blues Fire." Layla Zoe's sixth album "Sleep Little Girl" was released on Cable Car Records in Germany in late 2011 and her latest album "The Lily" also released on Cable Car Records in 2013 has taken her music and presence in the blues community to a new level. Her collaborations with German Guitar sensation Henrik Freischlader who produced the albums "Sleep Little Girl" and "The Lily" have brought Layla's music into the spotlight in the European blues scene and both albums have received critical acclaim all over the world.

"She has created probably the biggest buzz vocally of any singer I've heard about in years in Toronto. All of the comments, compliments and credos going around the city about her are not unfounded. She is wonderful."-Jeff Healey

"Don't doubt this contemporary blues Amazon for a minute. Zoe's album gets to places others can't reach." -Frank John Hadley (Downbeat magazine/USA)

"Layla is possessed with one of those fantastic Maggie Bell, Janis Joplin or Kitto voices that reach down into your soul and is able to rip your heart out."-Graeme Scott (Blues Matters Magazine /UK)

"Layla Zoe is a terrific singer/songwriter. - Sonny Landreth (Guitarist and songwriter/USA)

"Layla is a GREAT voice. Do not miss this."-Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band/USA)

Booklet for Breaking Free

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