A couple years back, this writer heard the teenagers, Logan and Cole Layman at a DC Blues Society fundraiser. With their mother on drums, it was clear that they had considerable talent but were to some extent a novelty because of their youth. Here they are, still in high school and have issued their first recording under the rubric of In Layman's Terms, "Tangled." In a program of 5 originals from them, 2 from Holly Montgomery and covers of Howlin' Wolf and Janis Joplin, this writer was surprised at their musical growth and the considerable promise the performances here indicate. The production of drummer drummer Rob Lowder, Jr., and the different settings he has for the bass and vocals of Logan and the guitar of Cole has made this recording one with something for a variety of musical tastes.
Immediately striking the listener on the opening title track is the strength of Logan's vocals. Her phasing, intonation as well as the power she invests gets the listener's attention, and while there might be a few spots one might want less heat in her singing, she avoids coming across as shrill or blustery. Whether singing a straight blues like "Heartbroken" or covering Joplin's "Move Over" she sings with (to these ears surprising) authority. Brother Cole is quite a guitarist, moving from biting fills on the opening title track, to more blues-rock pyrotechnics on other ones. One track where I felt the Logan's was not completely convincing, Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightnin'," Cole's playing was very intriguing.
I was impressed by the performances of "Tangled," although I cannot claim the original material stood out as much as Logan and Cole did. They are still young and they are maturing and will continue to develop their musical identity, but they should be congratulated for their accomplishment here.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the May-June 2016 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 366). Here they are performing "Tangled."