Ailing blues performer getting help from friends
Former resident turned international blues sensation Layla Zoe is back in the area, but she’ll only be watching a concert with her name on it this month at the Errington Hall.
Zoe has been off work for more than two months with a back injury and a benefit concert to help pay for her recent emergency back surgery and related medical costs is slated to take place March 30.
Local musician and sound/video engineer Chris Raines is organizing the event. He’s a friend of Zoe’s and has produced a couple of her albums.
“She needs (the help),” said Raines. “She’s one of ours and she’s talented and we wanted to make sure she gets back on her feet.”
Zoe suffered from back pain last year while touring, but was unaware she had had a disk extrusion as she was in Europe and unable to get a proper diagnosis, she said. She also suffers from degenerative disk disease in her lower lumbar. When she came home in December she collapsed and was unable able to walk, and spent Christmas Eve in the emergency room of the Nanaimo Hospital.
She has since had back surgery but it will be several months before she can walk normally again, she said. She has had to cancel shows in Canada and Europe and postpone the recording of her new album in Germany. Zoe is a resident of Quebec which has different health care regulations than the rest of the country, she said, and therefore she’s had to pay for every doctor’s appointment, MRI, blood test and other consultations herself, and she may not get any of that money back.
Zoe is trying to stay positive though, and is flattered and humbled by this concert her friends have organized.
“It means so much to me to know that the community is coming together for a great night of music, and trying to help me right now. The support of my family, friends and fans is what has helped me to get through this dark time.”
“And I look forward to taking baby steps to new growth and change and to be re-born again, later this year, once I am finally back on my feet” she said in an e-mail.
The event begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 30 with live music by local seasoned musicians and Raines’ Blues Beat band will perform at 8 p.m. Tickets are by donation at the door and people can bring a food item for a potluck meal.
There will be a silent auction at the event with items donated by artists and businesses in the community. There is also a special compilation CD available for purchase for those who can’t make the concert, as well as physical copies available at the event. It includes music from Layla’s first four albums remastered by Raines Records, called Years in the Blue Flame. Visit www.nimbitmusic.com/laylazoe to download an edition and make a donation for the album. One hundred per cent of those funds will go to Layla.
Anyone wishing to help out with the event can e-mail Chris Raines at email@example.com.
For more on Layla Zoe visit www.layla.ca.