This is the Life - A Ruby Jubilee

2015 is a special year for us since it marks the 40th anniversary of our first trip to the UK. We were playing in the same band then, The Lucky Men, mainly doing covers of 60s and 70s British pop and rock acts. Setting foot on Albionīs shores got us hooked on the English language and English speaking cultures, and this love for the lingo, the culture and its people has grown ever since. In the following 30 years - musically - we went our separate ways, Hans playing with Okemah, Al and John, Desmond Doyle and Friends, while I made music with United States of Love, Wikuda and Bad Boy Dupree. Pursuing different paths gave us a chance to explore new directions and to enrich our musical repertoires. Three years ago, when Hans celebrated a special birthday, we had a great sing-along together, playing and singing the better part of the night. Indeed, we hit it off so well that we formed The Lannoys, the band name being reminiscent of how our family name was spelt when our ancestors moved to Austria. As The Lannoys, we pen and perform our own songs, and in our music we bring together different styles and influences (Rock īnī Roll, Folk, Blues, Prog Rock and Pop). Indeed, we mainly write and sing in English, and releasing this album in 2015 is our way of celebrating our long-lasting creative relationship with the English-speaking world.

Yet, the album is not a journey into our past. On the contrary, it shows how we have moved on, with most of the songs written in the past ten years and some of them only a few months old. Indeed, the theme of moving on, of looking for new horizons, keeps coming up throughout the album. Musically, this is a diverse CD including catchy tunes and complex songs, folk ballads, bluesy and rocky tracks. In our songs we tell tales, joyful, sad, wistful, crazy, angry stories, some straightforward and some with a twist; yet, most of them optimistic in outlook, even if happiness and freedom, as in one instance, can only be found in some unchartered space "between the devil and the deep blue sea". For us, words can make a difference, and when we write our songs the lyrics are as important as the music.

The first track on this CD is Beach Bar Song, a piece written while on holiday on an island in Croatia. The song wishes to capture one of these moments in life where everything is perfect, where nothing can go wrong. Our heartfelt thanks go to the beach bar that inspired this tune, a place that is very unusual indeed, with hammocks and books for the guests, Iggy Pop coming through the speakers, and opening times that vary according to the mood of the friendly owners. The next track - Bamboo Bike - starts as optimistically as the previous one, yet takes an unexpected turn. Bamboo Bike is a story I was told at a boot sale some years back. According to the storyteller, this bamboo bike was given to a close friend as a special birthday present. However, this friend in his overwhelming happiness rode it only a few hundred yards. Then he fell off the bike, suffering a fatal heart attack. Yet, the guitar solo at the end is so uplifting that his soul must have been borne to a perfect place. The third track - New Horizon - is a feel-good reggae tune, which is about letting go of the past and venturing out into the unknown. Ode to the Good Life is a plea to live a happy life as summed up in the final two lines of this upbeat folk song ("as best you can, as best you may, let joy and pleasure rule your day"). Ode is followed by "Losing it All", a piece, in which we express our dissatisfaction with the consumer mentality and the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor. In this song we also pay homage to Mark Knopfler and the Dire Straits, with Mandy doing some fantastic guitar work reminiscent of the maestro.

For us, the first five songs make up the first side of the album, which shows we still think in terms of LPs rather than CDs. Side two includes the following five tunes, and the order of songs somewhat mirrors that of the first half. This is the Life is a catchy and cheerful tune, an appeal to live life to the fullest. What follows is Moving Strong, a song about wishing for something new and powerful, although the speaker is still desperate, longing for an absent person. The theme of wishing for a better life is continued in Seven League Boots where the speaker is hoping to start a journey where roots are rediscovered and new experiences had. The following track is Oh Lady, oh Lady, a folk piece where the speaker tries to ingratiate himself with a lady, only to turn tail in the end. Indeed, for the philanderer, this is a showdown, as underscored by Hansīs Morricone style of whistling. The final piece is Auntie Jean; a crazy song, indeed, sounding as if Monty Python had a go at the first set of Bachīs Brandenburg Concerto. We recorded the basic tracks for this song in a different studio with Rudi Kerschbaum on keyboards. Rudi is a dear friend who has given us a lot of support while working on this album. Finally, we have included a bonus track, a song sung in German, which was written in 1975 shortly before our first trip to the UK. As the name implies, Gammlerblues is a blues tune, a funny and tragic song about drug abuse that should not be taken too seriously.

Our thanks go to everybody who has helped us make this record, our families for their unfailing support and our fellow musicians for their continuous inspiration. Many thanks to Rudi Kerschbaum, Uwe J. Schmidt and Michael Willmann for playing on this record. You have all done a fantastic job!!! Many thanks also to Harry Schneller for designing the cover and the CD booklet, to Kurt Strohmeier for taking us under his wings, and to Martin Bagar for the great photos. Finally, our heartfelt thanks go to Armand "Mandy" Oberle. Indeed, recording this album would not have been possible without him. Mandy is a true sound magician and guitar wizard. He brought out the best in us and continued in our spirit whenever we had come to end of our tether.

Werner Delanoy