Laura Cox is one fierce female guitar player, and she defines her own style as “southern hard blues,” which is an honest description of her music and how she plays. Cox has received well over 90 million views of her performing music via her YouTube page, and has nearly half a million subscribers. Following her debut album, Hard Blues Shot in 2017, her sophomore album, Burning Bright, is due out November 8 via earMUSIC. Her new album features ten tunes of blues, classic and hard rock music.
Cox chatted with us about her first memories of guitar and influences, recording and writing for Burning Bright, working with Howie Weinberg, and why she describes her style as “southern hard blues.”
What was your first introduction to the guitar, and what influenced you to pick it up and play?
My first memories of guitar playing were when my dad used to play country music in the car when I was little. Later, I became interested in rock music and decided to pick up the guitar in high school with some friends. That’s funny because I remember going to see a Disney movie twice, called “Freaky Friday,” and I believe it really motivated me to start playing guitar!
Your sophomore album, Burning Bright, is due out November 8, and is said to be really loud, rock ‘n’ roll, which is what we love! What was the writing and recording process like for Burning Bright?
I like writing our songs with Mathieu (guitarist in the band), we’ve known each other for a long time, and it feels really natural to work with him. Most of the time, we find the guitar parts first, then the lyrics, and we arrange everything during rehearsals with François (bassist) and Antonin (drummer).
We’ve been working on these songs for the past two years, then we recorded the album in Belgium last January. We had the chance to have perfect conditions, the studio was great, the engineer too, everything went as planned! For most of the songs, we recorded the rhythm section first, then the guitars, and the vocal parts at the end (this part used to scare me, because I’ve always considered myself as a guitarist more than a singer, but it actually went really good!).
You define your style as “Southern Hard Blues.” What does this mean to you, and what do you hope your fans/listeners take away with them when they listen to your music?
For me, it’s a mix between heavy riffs with a southern twist. I’ve always liked country music, but I wanted to be in a rock band… So our music reflects our taste: Mathieu always loved classic rock/hard rock stuff, and I listen to softer styles, like southern rock. It reflects who we are.
I just hope our fans have a good time when they listen to our music, that it brings back good memories for them, or that they can forget their problems for a few minutes, while driving in their car. I love listening to music really loud in my car, and I hope our listeners will do the same with our album!
You worked with the legendary Howie Weinberg, and recording at ICP studios. How did you get connected to Howie, and what was it like collaborating with him?
Actually, ICP Studios put us in touch. When we were recording the album, we didn’t know who we were going to work with when it came to mastering, and when I realized that we would have the opportunity to have Howie Weinberg, I jumped on the occasion… He worked with some of my favorite artists ever (Sheryl Crow, Alice Cooper, Black Stone Cherry, etc); I’m so proud he could put a bit of his magic on our music.
What kind of guitar(s) do you play, and are there ones that you’d like to play but haven’t yet?
I love Les Paul guitars, their looks, their feel, their tone. They’re quite heavy for a girl, but I feel really comfortable with them. When I started playing guitar, I was obsessed with gear, but now I feel like I have everything I wanted, I’m not looking for anything special, I just love my guitars.
Is there a specific guitar you use in the studio and on the road, or are they the same?
At the moment, I’m playing a Gibson Les Paul Classic live, I used it for the studio too. I used my Bacchus guitars a lot (Japanese handmade guitars). My rig in the studio was very similar to the one I use on the road. I borrowed some specific pedals at ICP studios because I had some special sounds I wanted to have on the album, but other than that, I’m really happy with my gear!
What amps, strings, mics and pedals do you use?
I’ve been playing on Orange amps for years, they’ve become our signature on stage. I use standard Ernie Ball 9-46 strings, and for the pedals, I don’t need much: my main overdrives are a J.Rockett Archer, and a Solodallas Storm, I need them for the lead parts, they add just the right amount of bite and gain.
Who was your first concert, and who has been your favorite so far?
My first concert was Elton John in Paris when I was seven… All I wanted to hear was the Lion’s King soundtrack!
I’ve been to a lot of concerts these past years, so it would be really hard to chose only one. Sheryl Crow, AC/DC, and Halestorm would be my top three. They are so great live.
What was your first album on cassette, CD and/or vinyl?
Certainly something I’m not proud of! I wasn’t listening to good old rock n’ roll when I was a child… I don’t remember what it was, but that’s not worth it anyway!
Which five albums and/or artists would you not want to live without?
I’ve listed three of them when you asked me about my favorite shows, they’re the best! I would say AC/DC, Sheryl Crow, Halestorm, Blackberry Smoke and Black Stone Cherry. They play different kinds of music, but I couldn’t live without any of them. These artists define my world and they play an important role in the way I see music.
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
I’ve started a collection of Vans sneakers! That wasn’t my intention but I have to admit I’ve developed an addiction to these shoes…