Kyla's voice remains a stunning example of the soul singer's art: turning up the heat by degrees, lulling and charming before unleashing emotional catharsis, and blurring the distinction between pleasure and pain like the soul greats of old. Whether fronting the mighty Kyla Brox Band, or harnessing undiluted soul power in a duo with musical and life partner Danny Blomeley, Kyla Brox is without doubt the most authentic UK blues and soul singer of her generation.
Born in Lancashire in 1980, she was exposed to the passion of Afro-American music at first-hand from her blues singing father, Victor. She traces her interest in singing from age three, partly from a desire to be closer to her charismatic but distant dad. She was the late product of the marriage between Victor (Caiaphas in the original cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar) and Annette (the 'maid by the fire' in the same), and, unlike her elder sisters, gifted but non-professional singers, she didn't spend her formative years in the back of a touring van under a cloud of cannabis smoke.
Kyla joined the family business in 1992, singing with Victor onstage at Band On The Wall at the age of 12, and performing with his regular touring group shortly afterwards. The core of the Kyla Brox Band go back to this remarkable unit, nominally the Victor Brox Blues Train, but known as 'the child slavery band' for the extreme youth of the players. As well as Kyla (13, but could pass for 21), it contained bassist Danny Blomeley (13, but could pass for eight), and drummer Phil Considine (19), both Kyla Brox Band mainstays.
A two month stay at Victor's house in France at the age of 16 was a period of growth and development. Then, in 2000, she accompanied her father on an extensive tour of Australia. Blomeley had left the Blues Train to travel the world, and, to ease the blow, he promised to find Victor some dates in Australia. Kyla, just turned 20, found herself singing risque blues songs to hard men in mining camps in remote parts of the outback. This was the trip that transformed the novice singer into a seasoned soul belle.
Back in Manchester in 2001, Kyla and Danny formed a duo, occasionally augmented by old members of the child slavery band: the Kyla Brox Band was born! They plied their trade in Victor's old stomping grounds in North West pubs and clubs, before a career-making performance at Colne Blues Festival in 2002 sealed Kyla's reputation as the first lady of the British blues.
The line of development can be traced through Kyla's six albums. From the 2003 debut Window, where the tone is summery and romantic, to the acoustic Grey Sky Blue (2009), where hopes and longings are freighted with deeper emotions, via the blues/soul calling card Beware (2003), the band triumph Coming Home (2004) and the more introspective Gone (2007). The songs have developed too: the team of Brox/Blomeley have grown into a potent songwriting force, writing in the blues/soul idiom with an individual, nicely personal touch.
In an age of conveyer belt pop stars and emote-by-rote singers, Kyla Brox is the real deal.
"Her breathing control is superb but, more than this… Kyla's vocal is natural and very clean… [with] a depth of feeling…" - Blues Matters
"An authentic soul diva… sensitive, sexy, and with infinite reserves of sassiness" - City Life
"A classic sound pulled off with finesse… classy, impressive…" - Oldham Chronicle
"Great voice, great presence, great songs, great band…" - Leicester Mercury
Released 9th June 2009 Pigskin Records
|1.||All Breaking Down|
|2.||Say You Do|
|4.||Cramp Your Style|
|5.||Since I Fell For You|
|6.||Like The Sky|
|7.||Grey Sky Blue|
|9.||Shaken & Stirred|
|10.||Why So Cold?|
|12.||Feel My Pain|
per order worldwide
Kyla Brox - Grey Sky Blue (2009)
Kyla and Danny in a stripped-down duo setting. Goose-pimples are aroused on the first track, All Breaking Down, and then recur with uncommon frequency. Kyla's torchy vocals and Clive Mellor's harmonica on Since I Fell For You, the token blues standard, accentuate the four-in-the-morning feeling. Elsewhere, the spartan, exquisite atmosphere is the pretext for a high level of creativity. Danny's acoustic guitar is by turns gentle and unrestrained, always inventive, whilst Kyla has never sounded more alluring. The blues quota is satisfied with Get Ready and Shaken & Stirred, executed with ripe self-confidence, but songs like Kasbah and Like The Sky link directly back to that gorgeous first acoustic album, Window, but have the patina of experience (and, it must be admitted, superior technical resources). Rest Assured is deeply felt, with a gravity that goes beyond the youthful ardour of Window. Feel My Pain is reprised with fingerpicking urgency. And here's an answer song: "Remember when you said you'd be my sunshine / And I cried / Because I thought it would never be my time / Well I was wrong / You came through / And turned my grey sky blue." Grey Sky Blue (the album) was recorded when Kyla was pregnant with Sadie. It has a valedictory quality, and is simultaneously a summation and a fresh start.
Released 30th May 2007 Pigskin Records
|3.||Always Looking At Me|
|5.||One Step Too Far|
|6.||This Is The Life|
|8.||More Than Me|
|9.||What's Left On The Table|
|11.||You Said You'd Be My Sunshine|
per order worldwide
Kyla Brox - Gone (2007)
First album entire of Brox/Blomeley originals, with the exception of a single Brox credit (more of that later). When guitarist Marshall Gill was recruited by New Model Army, the old band ceased to be. This is Kyla and Danny's record, with band accompaniment on assorted tracks. Kyla was never averse to putting her feelings on show - that is her stock-in-trade as a soul singer - but in euphoric songs like This Is The Life, we're now getting more of the inner life. The depth of experience of the title song, a moving testament to loss, is new, while More Than Me proves how attractively Brox and Blomeley can write in the orthodox soul idiom. The stand-out cut, however, is the a cappella closer, You Said You'd Be My Sunshine, which is Brox sans Blomeley, and written in bitterness about a lover responsible for "five long years, no ring and no change." The singer stirs up a maelstrom of passion that is beyond assuagement. It had the desired result. Shortly after the recording, Danny bought Kyla the ring.
Released 2006 Pigskin Records
|3.||Do I Move You|
|5.||Working On Your Love|
|6.||Too Young to Care|
|8.||Won't Fit There|
|10.||Just for Then|
|11.||Things I'd Change|
|12.||Keep on Criticising|
|14.||Don't Change Horses|
per order worldwide
Kyla Brox Band - Coming Home (2004)
This realises the promise of Window by adding an extra ingredient: the groove. it's a groove that comes from constant work with an active working band. Saxophonist Tony Marshall and Marshall Gill, a guitarist from the BB King school of searing sweetness, fulfil most of the solo honours. Bassist Danny Blomeley and drummer Phil Considine are veterans of Victor's 'child slavery band'. And what a tight unit they are, personally and musically (groove triumphs over song on Won't Fit There). Twelve out of the 14 selections are Kyla co-writes or originate from within the Brox circle (Victor is responsible for Working On Your Love; incidentally, brother Sam is producer). Coming Home displays an empathetic Kyla, working out the work/life balance (She Knows) or her issues of self-doubt (Things I'd Change, Guilty), but also a tougher Kyla. This means that all the raunch is concentrated in one song, Do I Move You (a smouldering Nina Simone number), which actually intensifies the impact. The other cover, Don't Change Horses, is a real find. Rescued from the back-catalogue of seventies West Coast funksters Tower of Power, the song is a certified show-stopper, mixing real emotion (a plea for a second chance) with outrageous showmanship ("Giddy up, hi ho Silver…"). And, with the Blomeley/Considine rhythm team piling on the coal, it builds up a fine head of steam. If Don't Change Horses represents the zenith of the Kyla Brox Band, then Working On Your Love demonstrates the latent strength of the Kyla Brox Duo, with Kyla and Danny giving an object lesson in how less is more.
After the birth of our baby boy Sonny Bo we are getting ready to hit the road again (yes, with the baby for some gigs!) Check our dates page for new gigs.
Catch the duo at the fantastic Guisbourgh Blues Festival or the band at the award winning Hebdon Bridge Blues Festival. Hope to see you soon!
Booking Germany Tour now for Oct 2013
To book us please contact KBN details on our contact page.
We are planning our first tour of Germany in October this year. This is a duo and hopefully next time we can take the whole band.
Check out our new video for Grey Sky Blue here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRw2p4cC1Tc
British Blues Awards 2012
Kyla has been nominated for best female singer this year. You can vote for her at http://www.britishbluesawards.com
BBC Radio 2
Kyla will be performing on the Paul Jones 25th anniversary show on BBC Radio 2 on Easter Monday Evening 25th April. Check it out! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wrpd
New Website Launched!
Finally the new website is up and almost complete. It's been a long time coming and I hope you like it as much as I do.
Don't forget to join my mailing list to keep up to date with what's going on.
FRIEZLAND CHURCH HALL, SATURDAY 7 AUGUST
There is no more authentic blues and soul singer in the UK than Kyla Brox. Blues and soul, note, because the two forms are indistinguishable when they're played right. The fact that Kyla is still playing such intimate gigs as Friezland Church Hall is almost proof of authenticity. Her raw talent and purity is a shocking thing in an age of conveyor-belt pop idols.
She's so good that she merits two kinds of listening. At home, Brox CDs can honourably share the same shelf as Janis Joplin or Tracey Nelson (she has a better voice than either) or, getting closer to the source, Irma Thomas and Koko Taylor. But there's no substitute for the intensity of the live experience.
The show kicks off with a slow-burning blues. From the go, Kyla demonstrates her mastery of the soul singer's art. She calibrates a performance perfectly, and, like the best soul singers, she takes her time and stokes up the heat by gradual degrees.
Next, Frustration vents some negative feelings about the daily grind. It's an original by Brox and Blomeley (Danny; bassist, life and musical partner). Every serious musician's goal is the search for one's own voice. This becomes even more urgent in a structurally rigid form like the blues. Part of the solution is to write original material, firmly in the vernacular, but with enough individuality to be distinctive. Always Looking At Me is another original, and the scenario overturns blues machismo: it's the girl who takes the initiative.
Kyla does 'sassy' very well, but then, to put such role-playing in broad relief, Gone is about real emotion and real pain: specifically, the bereavement of Kyla's much-loved grandmother. When she sings, "it's unbelievable you won't know my first child", the line acquires extra poignancy from the knowledge that Kyla is the mother of 13-month-old Sadie. But even blues singers can buckle under the weight of pain, and so Shaken And Stirred returns to lusty concerns, with Kyla declaring her women's love rights.
This zig-zag of conflicting emotion is one of the chief characteristics of soul music, which has always blurred the distinction between pleasure and pain to a sadomasochistic degree. It's probably the one thing that damns it the most in our straight, strait-laced, anodyne culture.
How hard is it to be a young woman on the road? There's a famous quote from Janis Joplin: "On stage I make love to twenty-five thousand people, and then I go home alone". In a very tough business, it's necessary to have a support network. First there was dad, of course: Kyla started singing with her father, legendary bluesman Victor Brox, at the age of 12, and is a veteran of two gruelling and very surreal (naturally, for Victor) Australian tours. But bassist Danny Blomeley and drummer Phil Considine have been playing with Kyla since they were all members of Victor's band, the edition laughingly referred to as the "child slavery band". The musical benefits are obvious: the joint co-operativeness, the telepathic understanding. They predict each other's thoughts, and are really inside the music. Whereas many blues drummers are ploddingly four-square, Considine is a delight, with a jazzman's ability to vary the dynamics of a beat. Danny Blomeley is always there, both on-stage - he is self-effacing virtuoso on bass - and off-stage, as helpmate, manager and proud dad.
Don't Change Horses In The Middle of Stream has been a highlight of Brox gigs since 2004, when Kyla rescued it from an old LP by Tower of Power, and made it all her own. It's great. This kind of aggressive soul, which draws on hard rock riffs and is decidedly unsentimental, is under-explored but fabulously potent. Think of I'm Just Not Ready For Love by Erma Franklin, or There's A Break in the Road by Betty Harris. It's natural territory for Kyla, whose blues legacy gives her license to be blisteringly abrasive.
There are unexpected touches, like the flute on Do I Move You. How many other celebrations of raw sex are embellished by pretty tooting from this most pure and elevated of instruments? Marshall Gill is a guitarist from the Peter Green School. spinning single-line arpeggios that cut like razors, driven by melody, so that the attack is concealed and all the more effective. A true guitar hero, Gill is beginning to look disconcertingly like Seasick Steve.
Another Marshall, Tony Marshall, is a saxophonist with a vocalised quality, like King Curtis or Junior Walker (all the best soul saxophonists, in fact). Occasionally, he will venture into Charlie Parker mode, and launch an avalanche. More often, he prefers to be Tony Marshall.
But then Kyla can also turn around and surprise. On the second Nina Simone song of the evening, the crowd-pleasing Feeling Good (reserved for the encore), she sailed into the upper register and achieved operatic purity with some uncustomary high notes. The different registers convey different emotional states: pleading in the upper register, brusque and sassy in the lower. The duality can be unsettling, especially when they alternate in the same line, but it's very, very compelling. Kyla can make the earth move when she sings.
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