Southern California-based blues vocalist Sandy Haley has released a new disc. It’s titled Feels Like Freedom. But first, for those of you not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
Sandy Haley is an American singer-songwriter and musician. According to her official website, she’s been playing the piano and singing gospel music in Detroit. She studied music at Eastern Michigan University.
Haley also performed with the Detroit rock band, The Rockets, sharing a stage with The Beach Boys, Sammy Hagar, and Joe Walsh. She relocated to Los Angeles and performed at local music festivals. There she shared the stage with the likes of Coco Montoya, Tommy Castro, John Nemeth, and Teresa James.
Sandy Haley’s signature sound is a mix of multiple music genres including (but not necessarily limited to) Chicago and contemporary blues, gospel, R&B, and soul. In a recent e-missive, Haley discussed her musical origins and music genre transition saying: “I was a gospel singer until I got my heart shattered in a breakup. Then I craved The Blues as an ointment for my soul.”
Feels Like Freedom
Feels Like Freedom is a 5-track EP of all original material produced by Grammy-winner Tony Braunagel. Haley describes the work as “a testament to life, living and kicking ass in the 21st Century.” On this disc, Haley leads the way on vocals.
She is ably assisted by other artists including Tony Braunagel (drums and percussion), Joe Sublett (saxophone), Nick Lane (trombone), Les Lovitt (trumpet), Teddy Andreadis (harmonica), Teddy Andreadis, and Jeff Paris (Steinway piano, Wurlitzer, and Hammond organ), Pat McClure and Johnny Lee Schell (guitar), Ricky “RC” Cortes, Reggie McBride, and Dave DeLeon (bass), and Maxayn Lewis, Kudisan Kai Regalto, and Melodye Perry (background vocals).
Track by Track
The album opens on the upbeat title track “Feels Like Freedom.” This is a light, live-in-the-now anthem. It focuses on the life of the everyman.
Haley confirmed this saying the song is “for hard-working people that want to celebrate life, love, and friendship.” She notes that she was inspired to write this song while on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. “The waves and the wonderful people all enjoying the bands gave me the realization that I want to live my life this way, how about you?!”
The second selection is the hoppin’ “Never Sleep Your Way To The Middle.” It’s a humorous, tuneful true tale of an office affair with a married man. It comes complete with a touch of boogie-woogie keys and brass.
The next number is a personal piece. It’s titled “Love Me Right.” This is simply a heartfelt, soul-soaked ballad about the responsibilities of single parents.
The warm, emotive “Run For Shelter” follows. This track is another effective song-story. It centers upon the ideas of reinvention and perseverance.
The Closing cut is another upbeat audio offering “Dirty Dog.” It’s got a swing-tinged blues beat with more boogie-woogie piano work. The song tells the story of someone getting caught trying to sneak in after a naughty night out. It’s one of those songs meant to get an audience on its feet. Indeed, Haley says the tune “is always a crowd favorite, with its catchy Swing/Blues beat and humorous look at what goes on after midnight!”
Overall, this disc is a brief but potent sampling of Haley’s original, energetic blues and her three-and-a-half octave range vocals. While some may argue it is all too brief, it is also filler-free and undoubtedly leaves listeners wanting more. So, check out Sandy Haley’s new album because you might just find it truly “Feels Like Freedom.”