exclaim! - review of Low Fidelity - Nov 2008
By David McPherson
Where was this sweet, innocent, fill-a-room voice hiding? This dynamite disc opens with the powerful “Help Me Over,” co-written by Corin Raymond and Sean Cotton; the song explodes from the speakers like a gale force wind on a lonely prairie. Levasseur’s languid, “big, fat” voice builds and builds, guiding her and the listener to a cathartic climax. One imagines the sultry songstress leading a gospel choir in a rousing song of salvation in some rural Southern church. From this strong opener, the rest of the record is one choice cut after another — an equal mix of blues, gospel and jazz. While her voice is her strongest instrument, the chanteuse is backed by a dynamite band that includes producer David Baxter on guitar and Paul Reddick on harmonica. This is music that seeps into your soul with lines that linger long and don’t let go until the last note is sung. Leveraging the muscle of Muscle Shoals, the mojo of Motown and the blues from Chicago, Low Fidelity is Levasseur’s coming-out party; Toronto now has a new heroine of song. (Slim Chicken)
live review - therecord.com - hillside festival performance, 2007
Power vocalist: It's impossible to know where Toronto's Treasa Levasseur's big voice comes from, but she raised the roof and earned a standing ovation at the Lake Stage. She's a big talent on the rise.
fredericton telegraph, sept 2008
"...a fine lyricist, writing clear story songs ... She has a growing and solid reputation as a live and festival performer and, with her strong voice, should provide lots of big moments at her shows." bob mersereau
from the Toronto Star, Sept 30, 2008
by Greg Quill
Treasa Levasseur – Low Fidelity (Slim Chicken Ent) 3 1/2 stars out of 4
Winnipeg-raised Levasseur is an exceptionally gifted singer-songwriter whose second album is a rich, wholly satisfying amalgam of original soul, blues and R&B confections that showcase her stunning voice and set her up – with help from primo session musicians like David Baxter and Derek Downham – for the big break. This is sophisticated, sassy adult music, with sexy hooks and raunchy licks.
Top Track – Low Fidelity, a defiant love-gone-wrong blues rocker.
Maple Blues Magazine, Oct 9
Treasa Levasseur Low Fidelity Slim Chicken
by john valentyn
maple blues magazine, oct 09
There is a great deal to like about her second CD: Ms. Levasseur’s vocals are upfront & confident, she has some truly fine songs and an excellent band behind her. “The Good Ones Never Share” is a fascinating modern blues commenting on a wild lifestyle without ever actually concluding that change might be necessary. Paul Reddicksupplies some appropriate harp, which he also does on “Low Fidelity”. It turns out that low fidelity is a problem her soon-to-be-ex partner has, not a comment on the recorded quality of the CD. She does play up the pun though with a lo-fi intro & extro. “(Me and my) Big Fat Mouth” speaks for itself as a title but does not describe its rocking tempo. You’ll be humming this long afterwards and maybe agreeing with the lyrics. A lovely soul ballad, “Talk To Me Baby” features DK Ibomeka on harmony vocal and his silky voice is perfect for the part. “Give Me Just One” is in a more traditional R&B style, as is “Stuck in Soulsville”, a most effective homage to the Stax sound. The album ends on a more serious note with “Amen”, an original gospel song pleading for more religious tolerance. There’s quite a large cast involved in this project so I’ll just say that many of the songs include a chorus & horns and that several players are used at each of the usual instruments, all firmly under the guidance of co-producersDavid Gavan Baxter & Ms. Levasseur. Long time guitarist Sean Cotton deserves mention as do keyboard aces Bill King & Julian Fauth. The CD Release Party is October 2nd at the Lula Lounge. There are two shows, at 6:30 & 9:30 PM and she’ll have a seven-piece band.
from The Barrie Examiner, August 29, 2008
by Susan Doolan
Treasa Levasseur...is comfortable in just about any genre, and her first album reflects that. But now she’s into soul...Old school soul, “I went down to Memphis a couple of years ago, and got bitten by the soul bug. It’s where my writing’s been going...Most of the songs have to do with faith. Not only being faithful to another person, but also having faith in yourself, in your friends.”
from the North Bay Nugget, March 22, 2008
by Jenny Potter
Soul and Motown aren’t usually associated with Northern Ontario, but Treasa Levasseur is changing minds and turning heads throughout North America. Faised in part in North Bay, the curly haired songstress has taken her classical piano training and fused it with years of singing in church choirs and musical theatre. The result is soulful and often personal melodies that have singled her out as a rising star.
March 25. EDMONTON SUN
She’s as much a singer/songwriter in the Dusty Springfield and Janis Joplin mode as blues artist, but you’ll kick yourself if you don’t pick up this disc.
Treasa LeVasseur combines a wonderful, early jazz vocal quality with a shredding set of pipes she can turn on -- a high-octane Susan Tedeschi -- whenever she needs them. It’s a stunning weapon that could stand on its own even without the lush, vibrant recording, production and arrangement of this highly heartfelt disc.
It’s all combined with some lovely songwriting about the usual important things: relationships, relationship and... you get the point.
It’s all pretty impressive stuff, and when you combine it with some worthy, worthy soul that is both restrained in its vocal gyrations yet powerful, it’s quite a combo.
In typically modern style, there’s nothing organic about this one, however rootsy it is; producer David Baxter and engineer James Pail have done a masterful job of getting some pretty complex arrangements, with a lot of wall-of-sound stuff going on, adding to the gospel-funk-soul proceedings.
There are occasional dabbles in emotional frailty, rocky brashness, and .....just about every other way there is to admit relationships with other people keep our heads half twisted off half the time. Driven by Levasseur’s wonderful vocal delivery this is damn cool reminder of the humility that comes in admitting we ‘re all works in progress.
Even Cowgirls Sing the Blues
Toronto Blues Society - Mapleblues Magazine August 2007
"...lyrically and musically, Treasa's music warms you up and rubs you down. It provides beautiful emotional insight and seems to ask the perfect questions... Treasa's songs don't seem to escape anybody - thery are pure inspiration and undeniable...if you have not seen Treasa Levasseur personify the spirit of the blues while casting her arms to the sky, then you ain't seen nothing yet."
LIVE SHOW REVIEW - Women's Blues Revue at Massey Hall, Dec 1 2007
Now Magazine - Toronto
"smoldering voice and hilarious asides"...
Music Fans will want to make a bee-line for Not a Straight Line
Charlottetown Guardian, PEI
It doesn't take long to get hooked on Treasa Levasseur.
Three songs into her first full-length CD, Not A Straight Line, and I was anxiously scanning the Internet in search of any articles that would provide some insight into this Winnipeg-born artist whose small frame houses such a big, brassy voice.
Levasseur, who now calls Toronto home, is a richly talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose powerhouse pipes have landed her gigs singing everything from old-school funk, soul and rootsy blues music to freestyle hip-hop and rock.
Worthy in its Ways, by James Doran
Ottawa Blues Society Newsletter
Think Joni Mitchell, Etta James, Carole King and Dusty Springfield rolled into one - all influences according to her bio. Treasa's powerful yet sensitive voice has great range - it can whisper, cry, soar with joy and blast you out of your seat - sometimes all in the same song! She has superb pacing and a feel for a tune that characterizes all the great ones. She's also a first class songwriter (every song on the CD is original) with lyrics that emote, entice and captivate. And can she play! - piano, accordion, guitar, mandolin, percussion and a Rhodes and diamonica - whatever they are? Add in a theatre background (actress, playwright, producer) and a career as a successful children's music teacher/entertainer and you have the versatile, eclectic and talented package that is Treasa Levasseur.
Time Canada Arts: Pick of the Week by Leigh Anne Williams
Time Magazine Canada
Even Canadian women get the blues sometimes. But a [new CD] lets us hear how just good the blues can be, especially if you mix it up a bit with some generous borrowing from other genres.
Treasa Levasseur's Not a Straight Line is an eclectic melange of blues, jazz, funk, rock, and even a subtle note of country. Consistent throughout are Levasseur's fresh lyrics and mature storytelling. In Solitary Man, the most straightforward blues number on the CD, Levasseur sings of a man with "a hole in his heart about five miles wide." The singer would be his "sweet remedy," but the sad truth she tells us is that even though he says she's "so lovely, she could get a guy high," there's no rescuing him from his despair. In the title track, we meet a physicist and the lover who doesn't speak his language of numbers and infinity. A country song, Nickels and Dimes, introduces us to a woman trying to account for the cost of a love that isn't showing much return. "She wonders where all of the interest went/ She knows it won't break her, but it sure leaves a dent." Learn to Let Go is more philosophical than narrative, but who knew Buddhist thought had so much jazz and funk in it? The CD is an impressive achievement for the 32-year-old Torontonian, who spends her days traveling in a van full of instruments making house calls to teach music to children.
Mary Poppins Sings the Blues
The Toronto Star, www.thestar.com
...thoughtful bluesy songs she sublimely delivers on her debut CD not a straight line.
The singer/songwriter who describes her style as "sincere, sassy, soul" wrote most of the tracks, based on the ebbs and flow of her own life. And with songs such as "Brother Lover" ( I know that you're not in love with me and that our time has come to pass) and "Solitary Man" (Sad when he calls me, and I'm sad when he don't/Wish that he'd need me, but I know he won't) it's apparently not all the sunshine and light she brings to her day job.
"Aren't we all melancholy sometimes and sometimes upbeat?" said Levasseur of the ranging emotions on the songs which she has dubbed rootsoul... also proficient on accordion and piano, she has played and sung with several local bands and previously released a CD under the name Slim.
In 1999, she said she was "living in a crazy little hippie commune" of artists and urban activists when she agreed to run a friend's child-entertainment business. She has now developed the venture — on word of mouth alone — to a 200-name waiting list. "I love it," she said. "Little kids are so much fun and I love being my own boss." Her two worlds collided yesterday at the show/launch of not a straight line at Lula Lounge. Decked out in strapless red chiffon, Levasseur's audience included some of her pupils and their parents, and her opening act was the Levy Brothers, a band of three, 9 to 14, whom she taught piano.
CD RELEASE PARTY REVIEW
www.thelivemusicreport.com Not A Straight Line Report by Andy Frank
While Torontonian blues-singer Treasa Levasseur has entertained thousands of people from coast-to-coast, appeared on dozens of indie recordings as a backing vocalist and musician, and written and collaborated on many songs, she has never released a full CD of her own — until March 9, 2006 at Lula Lounge. Not a Straight Line is an all-dressed, mostly up-tempo blues disc, produced by guitarist David Baxter, and featuring some solid players, many of whom appeared with Treasa on stage for the release gig.
Treasa Levasseur took the long road to Lula Lounge, and it was time to celebrate! The concert stage required virtually all of Lula Lounge soundman Howard Laurie’s soundboard channels, as he rigged up mikes for trumpet, sax, two keyboards, bass, drums, two guitars, accordion, cello, stand-up bass, and countless voices.
from On The Beat
tandem news, march 2006
Local singer TREASA LEVASSEUR will soon release her first CD, not a straight line. That describes her musical approach, one that mixes blues, soul, and folk elements, while her gutsy voice hints at Bonnie Raitt.