The Versatile Fire of Laura Cox
I think that I only need to listen to new music, discover bands, even in different styles. That allows me to clear my mind, renew myself, not stay locked in phases, etc. For me, music will always be the key to everything. It can heal you, give you inspiration, have an effect on your mood. It's everything! -Laura Cox
The Blues Rock pulse is alive and well from France, in Anglo-French guitarist/singer/songwriter Laura Cox. In 2008, her steely, emotional guitar work grabbed success on Youtube and the rest became the synergy in 2013 with the Laura Cox Band. The band’s sound came together when Laura met Mathieu Albiac, another young and talented guitarist, who had similar musical passions. Their goal was to emit pure Classic and Southern Rock. Since then, their popularity in Europe and internationally has received much acclaim. The legendary Joe Bonamassa has complimented Laura Cox on her playing. She has had more than 50 million views on Youtube and that success paved the way for the band.
Laura first learned how to play guitar on a Squire Showcase in 2005, at age 14. Although Rock is not a popular genre in France, Laura’s English father was interested in Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Country. He continually played songs from The Band, ZZ Top, Johnny Cash, Dire Straits and Roger McGuinn’s Rickenbacker.
You can hear fiery riffs, and slide guitar, reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s gutsy style in Laura's playing. What is also inspiring is how Laura builds upon her guitar chops continually; learning the banjo and having already learned to play slide. She is immersed in the crafting on her guitar. On her last album, Burning Bright, songs of note are "Bad Luck Blues," featuring the bands ability to create, catchy original, in-your-face tunes. "Freaking Out Loud," with Laura's killer solo, Mathieu Albiac's contributing stellar guitar parts, François C. Delacoudre's incredible bass lines, and Antonin Guérin's solid drum chops. The band features a combination of integral songwriting and dares to push the band full throttle into their Hard Rock Blues sound. I was grateful to reach Laura and ask her about her path:
By Abbe Davis, June 15, 2021
AD: Is it true you have only been playing guitar from age 14 to now? With working on your playing, did you miss out on a lot growing up? Was your family into Rock n Roll, is that how you got hooked on Rock music? Who taught you to play like this?
LC: Exactly, I started playing guitar when I was 14. I wish I started earlier, but nobody really pushed me at the time because there weren't any musicians in my family, even though they were into good music like Classic Rock, Country, etc. In that sense, it helped, because I listened to guitar heroes throughout my childhood. That certainly trained my ears all of these years! I took lessons with a great teacher for 4 years, then I felt like I could just continue by myself. I don't think I missed out on anything. I was always a bit introverted at the time, and guitar helped me go through my teenage years.
AD: Your videos, how you began with Youtube. and it just blew up, so on "Never Forget" I love how your voice sounded on that song especially. What got you started with doing videos on Youtube? What did you feel about it when you began? Did you have any idea then that it would get so many followers or was it just for fun?
LC: During my first years of learning guitar, I used to spend a lot of time watching covers on Youtube, and it simply motivated me to do the same. I just wanted to share my progress with the world and get some advice. Then, I quickly noticed that my videos were watched by thousands of people, sometimes even millions. I never expected that, so I feel really grateful that it turned out this way. I think being successful on Youtube also helped me with my band, getting gigs, etc.
AD: Yes, I'm sure, it's excellent how it was a chain of events. Which female guitarists have inspired you?
LC: Unfortunately, back then, I didn't have any female role models. I was mostly influenced by Slash, Mark Knopfler, and Joe Bonamassa. Now I'm glad things are evolving, and that more women are playing guitar. My favorite female artists are Sheryl Crow and Lzzy Hale, but especially for the vocals and songwriting.
AD: They are excellent. Male and female your all time favorite Rock guitarists?
LC: At the moment, I'm listening to a lot of new great artists. I can feel my music tastes changing a bit, and I'm focusing more on the music and songwriting, and not just guitar. Right now, I'm listening to Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown a lot, Jared James Nichols, and Emily Wolfe. They're proving that there's a new generation of rockers, and it feels great and motivating for the future!
AD: Yes, these are great original sounds of Rock. When you were a kid, which live shows inspired you and made you feel like “I have to do Rock music?”
LC: I grew up listening to Dire Straits, so I think I would choose Alchemy Live. Later, I discovered Guns n' Roses, and I spent hours watching the Use Your Illusion I & II DVDs. These are the bands that made me wanna start the guitar and made me the player I am today.
AD: Have you had voice lessons in the past few years, I notice how you can belt it out well on "Heartbreaker!" You do a great live version of it! There is one moment where you go into the crowd, and it's great when you hang the guitar over the balcony for your solo.
LC: I've always considered myself a guitar player more than a singer, but I finally realized I had to put these two skills on the same level, so I've been working hard on the vocals these past years. I know I can still improve a lot, and that's a real motivation for me.
You're right, I used to play some solos into the crowd, but these days, I don't really do that anymore, due to COVID and the restrictions.
AD: Country Rock, Hard Rock, Blues Rock, what do you call yourself?
LC: I think the genre that would suit me best would be Southern Hard Blues. It's a mix of everything you listed. A Classic Rock base with some Country influences. I'm attached to all these kinds of music and couldn't chose between one or the other.
AD: Ha, that's understandable. Rockpalast 2020, you play live to no audience due to the Coronavirus. Where are you most comfortable, an audience, the studio, or in a venue like that where there is no audience?
LC: Rockpalast was a really strange experience for us. They had just announced the first lockdown and we weren't prepared for that at all! In the end, we're all happy about how it turned out, I just hope that we have the chance to play there again, in a fully packed venue next time!
What I like best is playing live in front of an audience is how, there's nothing like it, you can really feel the passion for music between you and the crowd.
AD: It's a rush. "Barefoot in the Countryside," your song, when and how did you write that tune? It’s a cool songwriter song! Do you prefer playing it on electric or on banjo? Also "Freaking Out Loud," I love the video and your voice on it and the energy you bring. Are you afraid to fly, who is that song about?
LC: Thanks, I think I wrote "Barefoot in the Countryside" back in 2015, because I just started playing banjo and I felt really inspired by the instrument. The playing is really different compared to the guitar, mostly because of the right hand technique with the metal finger picks. I know some people are playing the banjo with a standard pick or with their fingers, but for me it doesn't sound the same. I really wanted to keep it traditional. I love playing the banjo and I'll use it on our next album for sure.
"Freaking Out Loud" was written by Mathieu, and it's about a fictional character. I had the idea of the music video on the plane. I knew exactly what I wanted, and it turned out to be something really fun! I'm not afraid of flying, but maybe I would be if every flight turned into a nightmare like the one in our music video!
AD: LOL! Hilarious! It’s great to hear you playing slide guitar on "Looking Upside Down," did you write it playing slide or decide to play slide on it after you wrote it?
LC: Actually, I recorded this song in the studio with a lap steel. That was a new experience for me, and it wasn't really planned when we first wrote it. I just thought it added a nice touch for the song. When we play it live, I'm playing slide guitar with a volume pedal to emulate the tone of the lap steel, because it's more practical.
AD: Interesting how you change gears and it's great how versatile you are and how much you enjoy it. If the world was ending, and there was an Exodus, where you can only run out with ONE guitar of yours, which one do you grab to leave and survive as you run for safety?
LC: It would be my Gibson Les Paul Junior! It feels like a Les Paul, but you're not afraid to play it and to beat it on stage. I've only been playing this guitar for a year and a half, but I feel really comfortable with it. I think it could survive any situation!
AD: Excellent choice! Would you ever organize a festival in your town for Women In Rock? Do you think we need more of that out there?
LC: Maybe I wouldn't organize a festival, but I would be really appreciate being a part of a Women in Rock project! We definitely need more of these out there. The Rock community is a man's world, and it would be nice to team up with some women and show that we can rock to.
AD: You need to do this! We all need to work towards that. What is going on for you this year, where are you living and touring?
LC: This year, I've started writing songs for our next album. It should be out next year, and I can't wait to share it with you. I usually live near Paris, but I've spent a lot of time near the ocean in Portugal these last months, I think being there inspired me in a different way than if I had stayed in France. The end of the year should be busy for the band, since we're gonna play the shows from last year, the ones that were cancelled. We're mostly gonna tour in France, but I know some German & Spanish tours are coming too.
AD: That's great to hear. Who keeps you on solid ground with your music and songwriting?
LC: I think that I only need to listen to new music, discover bands, even in different styles. That allows me to clear my mind, renew myself, not stay locked in phases, etc. For me, music will always be the key to everything. It can heal you, give you inspiration, have an effect on your mood. It's everything!
AD: This is very true. I love to see how you reinvent yourself yet stay true to your own sound while learning and expanding and that is what makes someone have the sound that you create! Who do you want to thank right now?
LC: I would mostly want to thank the fans and the Rock lovers in general, for not giving up on the artists. This past year has been tough, musically speaking, and I have the feeling that people stayed connected and showed their support, even when there was no live music.
AD: Thank you so much for your time. I love your guitar chops and sound and can't wait to hear your new songs! Have a blast out therel!
Abbe Davis is Editor of TRR and the lead singer of the Hard Rock band, Sordid Fable. She has performed alongside legendary Blues artist, Buddy Guy, and formerly with Day of Colors nationally. She co-hosts The Tru Rock Show. Abbe is currently recording an EP with Sordid Fable for release in 2021/2022.