March 2006

Treasa Levasseur | Not A Straight Line CD release party
Match 9, 2006Lula LoungeToronto
Not A Straight Line
by Andy Frank with photo by José Romelo Lagman
While Torontonian blues-singer Treasa Levasseur has entertained thousands of people from coast-to-coast, appeared on dozens of indy 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.

Without fanfare, Treasa began the late evening festivities with a trio of beautiful slow numbers featuring her keyboard and vocals, Brian Kobayakawa on bass, and Kevin Fox on cello. Ironically, she opened the show with the CD’s closing track, “Singing Emma”, a song written about Treasa’s daughter. She followed that with a song penned by her outstanding opening act, The Undesirables, titled “Asking Me to Give You the Blues”, and then covered “If I Sang it Pretty” by legendary songwriter Bob Snider (who clearly enjoyed the whole gig from the back tables of Lula Lounge).

The classical instruments made way for the blues, and Treasa launched into the main portion of the show with a number titled “Solitary Man”, featuring some wonderful old organ sounds produced by the delicate digits of Richard Bell (who once played with Janis Joplin).

The highlight of the show for this sentimental reviewer was the beautiful “Nickels and Dimes” with superstar-in-waiting Justin Rutledge adding supporting vocals, and featuring Treasa’s gorgeous accordion solo.

With old boyfriends lyrically buried, the horns came out of the wings, and the party swung into overdrive with sax and trumpet players Mark Jarvis and Arthur Kerekes (God Made Me Funky). During “Learn to Let Go”, Treasa’s vocals matched the soaring trumpet note for note, a most impressive display of her powerful range.

“Learn to Let Go” also served as a good example of Treasa Levasseur’s accessible lyrics, which stretch from broken hearts to eastern-style philosophical musings — a refreshing digression from the usual “I’m broke and miserable” blues-fodder.

From “Letting Go is Easy”
Letting go is easy, holding on is hard
It's the clutch and struggle that'll leave you scarred
The path of pardon is the path of peace
When I lose attachment then I gain release

From “One”
Just one spirit, just one soul
We're all part of one whole

Treasa Levasseur’s road to Lula Lounge might have been a long one, and certainly “Not a Straight Line”, but it appears to have been a path whose gifts are golden.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Andy Frank
• • • • • •
José Romelo Lagman
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The Live Music Report

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