Sleep Little Girl is the latest release by Layla Zoe. This isn’t an album that you’re going to fall asleep to. This album was produced and almost all of the instruments were played by Henrik Freischlader on this album. Make no mistake though, this is most definitely Layla’s album. There are times that Henrik’s phenomenal guitar skills shine. Not to mention his skill on drums, bass and keys; but that is not what makes this album special. The unique qualities of Layla’s voice are showcased on the many different styles of blues rock that this album features.
The album starts out with the aggressive wail of “I’ve Been Down,” which sets the tone letting you know that this blue singer can bring the emotion with a rock and roll attitude. “Give It To Me” brings the funk with some provocative lyrics as Layla tells you what to do and when to do it – which is now. You can imagine Layla singing the blues at some old timey juke joint with everyone on the floor grooving to the rhythm. Things slow down considerably on “Black Oil,” which is a nine minute evocative lament about the end of the world caused by corporate greed and the sins against our environment. Henrik lays down an atmospheric emotional solo and the song surprisingly ends too soon.
Things jump back into the rock groove with “Pull Yourself Together,” which sounds like an autobiographical explanation about the rigors of touring on the road and the need to take care of yourself, your relationships, and determining what’s more important to her – the music in this case. “I Hope She Loves You Like I Do” throws in a soul tinged song where Layla is able to show off the softer side of her voice. “Hippy Chick” is clearly another autobiographical song that ebbs and flows in intensity as Layla sings about the self-proclaimed “fiery and feisty redhead, with the big voice and an ancient soul.”
Layla really takes the leash off of Henrik and lets him stretch his stuff on “Rock and Roll Guitar Man” as she belts out her love of the crazy things that a good rockin’ brings out. After that catharsis the album ends with the acoustic lullaby of “Sleep Little Girl.” At this point you’re spent and probably ready for a nap.
Layla may have that powerful voice that most people associate with Janis Joplin; but she is clearly talented in her own right and this hippy chick would have been a serious contender to Janis back in the 60s. The range and dynamics of Layla’s voice makes Sleep Little Girl a tour de force album and when you throw the superior musicianship of Henrik behind her, you get a great album.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Pull Yourself Together
– Hippy Chick
– Black Oil
– I Hope She Loves You Like I Do
– Give It Too Me
The Big Hit
– Give it To Me
Review by Kevin O’Rourke