Pain & Glory
Winner of the European Blues Challenge 2019 & the UK Blues Challenge 2018, newly crowned Best Female Vocalist in the European Blues Awards 2019 and daughter of cult blues figure, Victor Brox, releases her new album, Pain & Glory. Also available as a high quality, double, gatefold-sleeved LP. She will represent Britain at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, January 2020.
“Manchester’s answer to Aretha Franklin.” Tony Wilson, Factory Records
“Kyla Brox knows how to handle the gears… the Mancunian vocalist lets songs percolate, raising the temperature by degrees, then giving it both barrels in the final stretch. It’s a thrilling tactic.” Henry Yates, The Blues Magazine
“An authentic soul diva… sensitive, sexy, and with infinite reserves of sassiness” City Life
Kyla Brox‘s scintillating, multi-faceted new album, Pain & Glory marks her ascendancy to the very first rank of British singers.
Kyla has been a professional musician since the age of twelve – first in her father, Victor Brox‘s band, then striking out on her own – and Pain & Glory represents the culmination of a quarter of a century’s experience on the road and in the studio. The variety and depth of her vocal performances have grown year on year and are given a superb setting in this album’s sweeping landscape of soul, blues, urban R&B, blues-rock, and singer-songwriter pop of the highest class.
The collection opens with the joyous ‘For The Many’, replete with Stevie Wonder-style clavinet sounds from keyboardist John Ellis, and a politically progressive lyrical sentiment which is emblematic of Kyla’s generosity, humanity and proud optimism throughout this collection.
Highlights abound: the retro-soul, slow-burn balladry and melodic momentum of the title track; the jubilant R&B of ‘Choose Life’; ‘In The Morning’ is a swaggering, sensual blues shuffle; ‘Manchester Milan’, unfurls as a wistful, sophisticated meditation on a cosmopolitan affaire d’amour; Lover’s Lake has the gentle, inviting pulse of a Fleetwood Mac b-side; while the hot funk of ‘Let You Go’ flames with righteous Girl Power brio.
Two tracks perhaps deserve extra-special mention. Firstly, the swingin’, jivin’, ‘Bluesman’s Child’ which documents Kyla’s teenage years of singing with her father’s band. A bit of background: in the early ’60s her dad, Victor Brox formed the Victor Brox Blues Train with singer Annette Reis, who would become Kyla’s mother. They were, perhaps, the first interracial band on the scene, Annette having been born in Stockport of African-Canadian, English and Nigerian heritage. Victor went on to the influential Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation drawing the admiration of Jimi Hendrix, who dubbed Victor his “favourite white voice”. Robert Plant was also a teenage fan. Kyla sometimes performs with Victor and Annette to this day.
Secondly, classic-in-waiting, ‘Don’t Let Me Fall’ wields seriously radio-friendly soul-pop heft, as Kyla builds from a crooning start to an astonishing crescendo where she sings without the brakes on. It is a truly thrilling aural experience.
Such a treasure shines all the brighter in being supported by a superb team – Kyla’s brother, Sam Brox of Dust Junkys fame produces empathetically with help from Kyla herself and her husband, co-writer and bassist Danny Blomeley – it is indeed, a family affair. John Ellis (Honeyfeet, The Cinematic Orchestra, Lily Allen etc), plays keys with alchemical excellence; in-the-pocket drummer Mark Warburton is a master of economy; Paul Farr (Corinne Bailey Rae, Joss Stone, Tom Jones) is an enchantingly fluent guitarist; while the renowned Haggis Horns – proclaimed “the best horn section in the world” by Mark Ronson – create a further dimension to these already finely crafted, appealing songs with their mellifluous and punchy arrangements.
In September 2018 Kyla won the UK Blues Challenge with a breathtakingly charismatic set at Worthing Pier’s Southern Pavilion. She will represent Britain at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, January 2019 and at the European event in The Azores, April.
Kyla Brox is one of the very best soul-blues singers the British Isles has ever produced, and with the arrival of this beautifully composed cornucopia of an album, her time has come.
Pigskin Records via Cadiz Distribution
For more info, interviews etc, please contact Joe Cushley at Balling The Jack PR – firstname.lastname@example.org or 07775 744 867
KYLA BROX Pain & Glory Review
Every year there is one band that packs venues at the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge, but somehow misses making the Saturday finals. Past dubious honors go to Vanessa Collier and Jarekus Singleton. How’d no appearances in the finals work out for them? This year, for me, it was the UK’s Kyla Brox. Blessed with a stirring voice and smart songwriting, Brox led a polished band of musicians who easily supported her stylings. It was a breath of fresh, non-power trio music that was a rest for one’s assaulted ears. I could tell word spread that this was THE band to see as all nights she packed the tiny Blues City Café so full that on her performance in the Friday semi-finals, the crowded Café had to only let fans in after some left.
Brox came to the blues as a teen working as a vocalist in her father’s blues band in Manchester, England. Her “Bluesman’s Child” addresses the late nights and long hours traveling in a van as a 12-year-old. Her father’s enduring lesson was, “it’s about the music, not the fortune or fame.” Brox’s controlled voice declares while a powerful horn section pushes this swingin’ testimony. Her “Sensitive Soul” opens with those same horns adopting a “Miss You” groove until Brox tackles the theme of that sensitive soul having to leave. The CD opens with a barrage of horns that leads into Brox’s funky “For The Many,” her call to “believe the youth, they know the truth.” The band in Memphis (and here) features Brox’s husband Danny Bromley (bass and acoustic guitar), Farr (guitar), and Mark Warburton (drums). Here she adds John Ellis (keys) harmonica, horns, and backing vocals to augment her vivid arrangements to these 15 originals and one not-listed bonus track.
Other highlights include “In The Morning,” her soulful, next day regret, “Compromise,” which allows listeners to fully appreciate Brox’s sensitive delivery, “Don’t Let Me Fall,” her love’s plea that builds to a crescendo like the finest Stax soul records, and “Manchester Milan,” which lets listeners appreciate the Brox’s full vocal range and her flute. (Maybe
judges didn’t like a flute in a blues challenge.).
Her bonus extra is a gorgeous reading of “Halleluiah.” Backed by Blomeley’s acoustic and Farr’s electric guitars, Brox’s voice soars in a controlled, emotional flight. Through it all, Kyla Brox displays a very unique ability to express nuance and warmth without resorting to vocal hysteria to deliver her messages.
– Art Tipaldi, Blues Music Magazine USA
THROW AWAY YOUR BLUES REVIEW 16/3/2016
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……
By The Blues Man in The Hat