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Monday, August 30, 2010

Treasa Levasseur - Low Fidelity

Treasa Levasseur - Low Fidelity
2010, Slim Chicken Enterprises

Treasa LeVasseur’s mouth has been a blessing and a curse. It’s gotten the Toronto resident into trouble over the years and it’s taken her some wonderful places. The woman with a voice that recalls some of the great female vocalists in blues and R&B was recently honored with a Juno Award nomination for her newest album, Low Fidelity. LeVasseur’s sophomore album finds her digging more deeply into Mississippi blues and the sounds of the Stax label, with the same stunning voice that turned heads on her debut, Not A Straight Line.

Low Fidelity opens with a healthy dose of classic R&B and soul in "Help Me Over", a danceable opener with a serious melody and a meaty vocal line that Levasseur wrings every bit of emotion out of. Levasseur has a voice you could melt butter on, a sexy alto with both power and polish. "Good Ones Never Share" laments the trade-off between the good life and the easy life in terms of human relations and sexuality. It's a great blend of blues, rock and soul and Levasseur isn't afraid to get down and dirty with her amazing pipes. "Talk To Me Babe" is a classic soul ballad about working things out in a relationship. Levasseur turns a corner with "Low Fidelity", a kiss-off song to a player with a melody line you won't be able to get out of your head.

On "Big Fat Mouth" Levasseur bemoans all she might have missed because of an inability to filter her thoughts from the spoken word. On an album where highlights are difficult to single out, "Big Fat Mouth" is a standout track. "Give Me Just One" heads for classic rhythm and blues in a song about taking what you can get, romantically. Levasseur is vocally stunning, but her backing band steals the show with a technically flawless and inspired musical performance. Technically flawless can be achieved through re-recording and post-production, but the performance on the album achieves magic. "Rest Of The Ride" is the sort of love song that might have spent weeks at the top of the charts at one time. As it is it might be the perfect wedding song, and seems destined to for mix tapes everywhere. Levasseur's performance is heartfelt and warm. Loosening up a bit, "Stuck In Soulsville" is a funky and gritty bit of musical fun that leads into the closing track, "Amen". "Amen" is a blend of gospel, R&B and soul that celebrates spirituality in all of its many forms; Sort of a classic sounding closing track with a twist.

Treasa Levasseur may have been born in the wrong era. Release Low Fidelity circa 1968 and you might have a multi-platinum juggernaut on your hands. Levasseur's sound is more vital than many of the legacy acts still trying to recreate their 1960's and 1970's glory days, and her voice is a dream. The voice, tremendous songwriting, and a crack band are all part of the recipe for success, but the chemistry LeVasseur has with her band and the obvious joy they took in creating Low Fidelity inject the album with the sort of magic you can't fake. Low Fidelity is an amazing effort, a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc. Don't miss it.

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Treasa LeVasseur at or  Low Fidelity is available from as a CD or Download.  You can also find the album on iTunes.

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