This is the 4th album for this Ottawa band, formerly known as “The Lucas Haneman Express”. Painting Stars is the forceful, bluesy sound of a quartet coming out of lockdown with something to prove, a burst of light and optimism we can really use.

The band is Lucas Haneman on vocals and guitar, Martin Newman on bass, with new drummer Valera Negovora bring fresh energy to the band.  Megan Laurence, the “L” of The LH Express, steps up as lead vocalist for half of the record and sings her ass off. “After almost three years of silence in our industry, where many musicians couldn’t work, Painting Stars is an album where every member in our band has something to say and something to prove” Laurence says.  “The LH Express is back with a renewed energy and a positive sound we can’t wait to share with the world.”  This band is beyond ready to get rolling.

Lots of great blues textures across Painting Stars and, as good as Lucas is on the mic, I find Megan’s vocals more compelling and powerful.  The production is nice and clean, everyone playing well together without stepping on each other’s toes.  When I’m not zeroing in on a vocal or guitar solo I get drawn into Negovora’s drumming; driving without being obnoxious, yet with a relaxed feel that swings and really suits the music. As someone that used to play I appreciate it.

Lucas Haneman is proud of what the band has accomplished with Painting Stars and rightly so. “(This) is The LH Express putting everything on the table with our hearts on our sleeves” he says. “Megan steps forward into the light on this album showing the world that she is a force to be reckoned with, and the rest of the band is right there alongside us.”  Painting Stars is an ebullient, uplifting album that I will listen to often. (John Kereiff courtesy