Ottawa’s Lucas Haneman Express took their last album, Tearing Up the Rails, to the final five of the Maple Blues Awards in 2017 as Best New Artist. They also made the semi-finals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis the previous year. They have not stood still. Catch the Westboundfeatures ten new songs by Lucas Haneman with music by the Express that are firmly in a radio-friendly, blues-rock style. He is regarded as one of our finest young guitarists, as his solos in each song make clear but solos aside, he always puts his guitar prowess in the service of his songs. On “Lay It to the Line” and “Cold Cold Front”, he displays his continued strength as a vocalist. Co-vocalist Megan Laurence sings lead on “Wicked Ride” with special guest Jeff Heisholt on organ. Multi-tracked vocals, tempo changes and a stunning guitar solo make this one a major highlight. Another highlight is “Ms. McGrim”, which opens with a country blues bottleneck guitar before the band kicks in and we go rocking out, Laurence and Haneman trading verses about someone you don’t want to meet.  The hard-rocking “Night Takes the Chances” deserves mention as a tribute to Gord Downey, citing his determination and pursuit of justice: ‘we will remember, this is not the end’ says the last line of the chorus. Haneman concludes with some fine acoustic fingerpicking on “To Be Brave (when the blues come)”. Megan Laurence joins in on the chorus with the rhythm section on a fine way to conclude. They are Jess Asselin on drums & Martin Newman on bass, as fine a rhythm section as you could want. These are excellent original songs very well performed, check them out when you can. They were in town a few weeks back but you can go to www.lhexpress.ca for streaming and concert notices.

May 2019 - Mike Goudreau
May 2019 - Dawn Tyler Watson