Any song with a chorus that has a beautiful long string of harmonized “ooooooo … oolalala”, in the background and ends with sweet giggle, has got to be a favorite for a bright February morning. Even though a cold prairie wind is fogging up the windshield, you will feel safe and warm in the arms of Ayla Brook & The Sound Men, with their current single “All That I Wanted to Do.”
Ayla Brook has been working the bars and the dance clubs around Edmonton, AB, for a good many years. A songwriter steeped in the rich traditions of country, blues and folk, Ayla, (pronounced “Ey–Lah”), has long learned that first you make them dance before you steal their hearts. As on his 2016 album, “(I Don’t Want to Hear Your) Break Up Songs,” the sound is lean and light, primed for putting sawdust on well worn boots. Ayla Brook & The Sound Men won the Roots/ Folk Recording of the year at the Edmonton Music Awards for that record. Joined by Johnny Blerot (keyboard/accordion), Sean Brewer (acoustic guitar), Brent Oliver (bass) and Christ Sturwold (drums), this band is well versed in building up the tension behind their songs with a solid back beat and rich guitar. Reminiscent of the great country rockers from the Rolling Stones circa 1969, these songs make you want to move first, before singing along.
“All That I Wanted to Do” is the first single from their forthcoming album, “Desolation Sounds,” via Fallen Tree Records. The album promises to be an exciting collection of songs based on this single. Lyrically, Brook is still exploring some of the heartbreak from his earlier songs, but he seems to be feeling some joy in the opportunity for a fresh start. Certainly this single is a mixture of uplifting guitar arrangements – and a chorus with a snappy, lets all join in, quality that should lift up any heart weary, whiskey drinking, love lost soul. Brook’s gritty lead guitar is central to the appeal of this song and the band’s unique approach. Produced by Hamilton, ON singer-songwriter, Terra Lightfoot, the song has elements of both new and tried, true songwriting and record making. Early indications hint that the album will be a stunning surprise for those familiar with the earlier recorded works of Ayla Brook.
Talk about great timing! After “All That I Wanted To Do” got all the dance steps moving across the floor, Ayla Brook & The Sound Men release a surprise new single titled “(I Think I) Hit My Limit” here today. Accompanied by an official music video, the band provide one for the slow dancers who love to pull their partners in close. This is a song inspired by generations of songwriters who clearly understood what love is all about; a simply gorgeous and tantalizing song with a honeyed production, that will send a shiver up your spine and put a smile on your face. Everything that is wonderful in a pop, country, rock style surfaces in this tune, which harkens back to the songs that made us fall in love with music the very first time we heard it. A perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the one you love, wherever they might be, far or near, just around the corner or walking out the door.
“Desolation Sounds” is due out March 13, 2020, followed by tour dates and new video releases. The strength of this band’s tightness most surely derives from testing themselves before audiences large and small. Clearly these songs are going to nurture a much larger following in the very near future. This is music that has been hard won by doing what only the very best do – on the road singing to folks looking for some good times and good feelings, when feeling bad is all they’ve got.
Photo credit: Eric Kozakiewicz
Douglas McLean fell in love with music at a very early age and has worked as a musician and songwriter since his early teens. He has a deep love for the written word and has spent his life in pursuit of language as a means to convey what Van Morrison once called “the inarticulate speech of the heart”. He lives deep in the Almaguin Highlands with his wife and their dog. Douglas is active in local radio, recording, producing and writing, in and around Huntsville, Ontario.
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