Oh Gosh! We are barely into 2016 and the Blues Gold Standard Flag has been truly planted at the top of the hill. The new album 'Throw Away Your Blues' from Kyla Brox will have you hunting around for words big enough to describe the impact of this beautiful, beautiful piece of work. This is a serious quality blues album conjured by a fabulous blues singer who, surrounded by some stunning musicians, mainlines every word, every note straight into your Blues Central.
If you have skin prepare for goose bumps, if you have a heart prepare for it to be uplifted and then perhaps broken. If you still have hair, prepare for it to stand on end. If you have a spine it will tingle and then some.... Ok, I'll stop there – but trust me, without any shadow of a doubt, this will go down as one of the best blues and soul vocal albums of the year.
The very first track 'If You See Him' sets the bar at an incredibly high standard. The opening line “If you see him tell him I'm sorry”, sung unaccompanied, lets you know exactly where we are going with this killer blues songstress and I defy you not to open your mind to the grainy images of those mighty female blues singers of the past that we all love and cherish so much. Like that distinguished blues sisterhood, Kyla delivers sad, poignant, painful and heartfelt stuff. She has you from the first note and you can't let go.... when you are looking for a Track of the Year, this opening track will be on your list.
There are a number of tracks on here where our guide on this emotive roller-coaster tour seems to offer a little self assurance..'Lifting The Blues', 'Beautiful Day' and While We're Alone' are three superbly crafted songs where it seems as though there is maybe a future and a hope...but sadly, all three still leave us with the notion that maybe the moment has gone and she is looking with hindsight into the mirror and reflecting on times past. The last of these is given a magic lift with some wistful guitar but with the next more upbeat track 'Choose Me' the desperate plea in the lyric does nothing to dispel the sadness.
The writing throughout this big fourteen track album, provided by Kyla herself with the addition of her two guitarists Danny Blomeley and Paul Farr, is invested with the kind of powerful observations and commentary on blues feelings that only a female singer could deliver with authenticity. With Kyla we run the gamut of all those signposts of relationships...being alone, being desperate to be loved, being cheated on, getting over it, moving on and still being in love more and more. There is a hint of resigned pragmatism in a number of the tracks, particularly 'Ain't Got Time' and 'Honestly Blues' which are two classics that hit dead centre in the heart in a way that you quickly appreciate, only a woman can deliver with effect. However, there is still hope lurking in the background and, striking a familiar chord, there is the potent 'Change Your Mind' lyric where, even though rejected and neglected, the singer lets us know, sadly, that she will still be there if you should come back.
But Hey - don't give up lady – and she doesn't. The fabulous rapid track 'Run Our Home' has got some of the best 'screw-you' lyrics you could ever hope for where Kyla, throwing in a bit of hot flute playing, tells her lover she's outta there and he can pick up the pieces. There is not a woman in the land who will not be up and dancing to lines like 'you can't see past the end of your nose' and the brilliant 'see if you can do what I do all on your own'....oh, yes, left to the solar-plexus, right uppercut, knockout.
Piaf, Lady Day, Etta...we all know that galaxy of voices who have that extraordinary ability to imbue us publicly through their voice with their depth of feeling, the nerve endings of their pain, joy and disappointment and raise us up with a brave-faced look to the future. This is an album that comfortably stands alongside that rich pantheon of talent. It's called 'Throw Away Your Blues', but, as we all now understand, It Ain't That Easy and here we get told why.
Everything about this album is from the top drawer. The musicians and production are full of elegance and light touch – (even the album design is exquisite) and together they provide the perfect platform for a voice that will move you, embrace you and leave you wanting more. Not many can do that......