March 2007

Treasa Levasseur
presented by Richard Flohil
March 9, 2007 Hugh's Room Toronto
Setting A Straight Line Towards A Singular Evening
by Sebastian Cook with photo by Roger Humbert
I had previously seen only a short glimpse of Treasa Levasseur, about 15 to 20 minutes of her Not A Straight Line CD release at Lula Lounge when there were at least 8, maybe 10 musicians on stage including old friend Mark Jarvis from God Made Me Funky. This night brought the pleasure of seeing a full set from this delightfully original and engaging Winnipeg singer-songwriter with her trio, opening for the incomparable Serena Ryder on a truly inspired double bill from Richard Flohil.
Starting things off was “Brother, Lover”, a driving country-soul-folk number with some marvellous mandolin work from David Baxter who produced the album. Immediately striking were the hard-earned humour in Levasseur’s lyrics (for which it’s well worth a visit to her website to read) and her ability to shift both vocally and on guitar from a driving, straight-ahead tempo to a whisper and back again. That gift and her vocal range continued to impress on “The Good Ones Never Share”. “I guess what I think / often changes when I drink”.

To this recovering Internet euchre addict, her ode of sisterhood to Internet poker widows “Nickels & Dimes” had particular gravitas. “She knows it won’t break here / it sure leaves a dent / … A little hard work never killed a man yet”. “Gimme Just One” brought more of that Joplinesque, Texas barrelhouse spirit, with perhaps the most poetic line of the night, “Show me your heart of darkness / then show me a little light.” The understatedly funky stylings of acoustic bassist Joe Phillips, who I had first seen play at Cervejeria shortly after coming of legal drinking age about 12 years ago, stood out on this number.

Back to a more contemporarily inspired vibe went Levasseur with “Worthy In Its Ways”, a hiphop-acoustic ditty with its backbone words of wisdom “If you wanna give love out / action sings and action shouts”. Indeed, Levasseur is an artist with a gift for naturally and unpedantically inspiring her audience to feel the resonance of her stories and put their lessons into real life — the hallmark of a great folk musician. It will be very interesting to see where the decidedly 'unstraight' line of her songwriting talents and diversity of inspirations take her in the future.
The band
Treasa Levasseur – vocals, guitar, accordion
David Baxter – guitar, mandolin, harmonies
Joe Phillips – acoustic bass

This concert was part of a double bill presented on that night: Treasa Levasseur opened the concert and was followed by Serena Ryder ( see our report ).

We welcome your comments and feedback
Sebastian Cook
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Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report

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