Sandy Haley is an L.A.- based blues singer who grew up singing gospel in her childhood home in Detroit. Of the transition, she said, “I was a gospel singer until I had my heart shattered in a breakup. Then I craved the blues as an ointment for my soul.”
That shift to the blues was a good one as evidenced by her new EP Feels Like Freedom. It’s only five songs, but in those five songs, she and her band put on a display of soulful blues that will make you want to dance.
The EP gets off to a rousing start with the swinging “Dirty Dog.” This song is propelled by the boogie-woogie piano and the rhythm section that makes it nearly impossible to remain still. Meanwhile, the harmonica might bring The Fabulous Thunderbirds to mind. In the song, Haley sings about someone who has too much of a good time and tries unsuccessfully to sneak home without being noticed. It’s a classic theme with vocals that have some similarities to Joanna Connor.
“Feels like Freedom” isn’t a slow song, but it doesn’t match the tempo of “Dirty Dog.” The slower tempo is fitting for the story in this song. In it, Haley sings about a day that is “no work, all play,” which sounds tremendous. The vibe of this one is similar to “Daydream” by The Lovin’ Spoonful in that it celebrates and revels in living in the moment.
“Never Sleep Your Way to the Middle” is another fun song inspired by the true story of an office worker’s affair with her married boss. This one also features boogie-wooogie piano as well as some blasts from the horn section. It’s more than enough to have you looking for a partner to swing dance with. Even the lyrics of this one are fun but with a strong message. Haley’s exhortation to women is, “Never sleep your way to the middle. He’s nowhere near the top.” She also encourages women never to give up on their dreams and settle for something less than what they want.
In only five songs ranging from uptempo swingers to ballads, Sandy Haley gives the listener enough to know that they’d like to hear more from her. Her soulful voice was made for singing, whether it’s the gospel of her childhood or the blues she embraces now. Feels like Freedom is available everywhere now. Visit her website for more information.