Lucas Haneman Express | Catch the Westbound

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Blues: Blues-Rock Blues: Funky Blues Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Catch the Westbound

by Lucas Haneman Express

Hot on the heels of their 2018 Maple Blues Award nomination for New Artist of the Year, their new album highlights Lucas Haneman's engaging vocal delivery and prowess as a guitarist, Megan Laurence's angelic and captivating vocals alongside the talented grooves of the rhythm section of drummer Jeff Asselin and bassist Martin Newman. With a mix of lively, rock ‘n roll grooves, subtle, haunting melodies and vocals, hints of early Stax and Motown records, and excellent mature songwriting. This is blues brought to the year 2019 (featuring both Haneman and Megan Laurence on lead vocals), blues that defies genre and welcomes any lover of music along for the ride.
Genre: Blues: Blues-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Lay It to the Line
4:40 $1.29
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2. Cold Cold Front
4:34 $1.29
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3. Wicked Ride
6:30 $1.29
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4. Make It Right
3:58 $1.29
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5. Ms. McGrim
4:21 $1.29
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6. Devil's in My Grave
6:35 $1.29
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7. Pick It Up
5:24 $1.29
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8. Night Takes the Chances (For G.D.)
6:16 $1.29
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9. Touch of Your Love
5:04 $1.29
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10. To Be Brave
4:12 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Catch The Westbound”, is The Express's 3rd full length studio album. In addition to being mixed by Toronto based Brian Moncarz (who has produced work for Juno and Grammy award winning artists such as "Our Lady Peace", "The Trews", "Ian Moore", "The Tea Party", and many more), the album was also mastered by Ottawa based Philip Shaw Bova (who was nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award). "Catch The Westbound" features 10 robust original tracks by Haneman and the band that sound like they were made for radio. This is blues brought to the year 2019 (featuring both Haneman and Megan Laurence on lead vocals), blues that defies genre and welcomes any lover of music along for the ride!

1 "Lay It To The Line” start's the album off in lively fashion with Haneman's engaging vocal melody and driving guitar hooks paired with a heated "Rock And Roll" groove by drummer Jeff Asselin and bassist Martin Newman. Though inherently upbeat and catchy with fantastic backing vocals by Megan Laurence as well, "Lay It To The Line" foreshadows the lyrical depth found on "Catch The Westbound" as a whole as Haneman grapples with relationships, truth and mortality over fiery instrumentation.

2 "Cold Cold Front" is a haunting modern blues with ferocious 3 part harmonies, a fat backbeat, and an energized guitar solo by Haneman. With its lyrical plays on nursery rhyme, evolution as well as life and death Haneman digs deeper than he has before on record with an aggressive and heartfelt vocal delivery. "Cold Cold Front" hearkens back to the story telling tradition found deep in the roots of Mississippi Delta Blues, but the production value is on another level, sonically expansive and rich, much like a modern day Black Keys release, or an offering by the late great Jeff Healey.

3 "Wicked Ride" shifts the album into a new gear, taking the listener into a more subtle head space with Megan Laurence's angelic vocal delivery which captivates and amazes. With waves of dynamics, and a slow sultry groove, this track seduces the listener. Once again, musicianship is top notch with a guest appearance by Jeff Heisholt (The Trews, Rufus Wainright, The Skydiggers etc) on Organ, and lyrics are top notch,. A spacious bluesy solo by Haneman lifts the track to new heights, and the double chorus by Laurence at the end is the icing on the cake, with a long held note that evokes goosebumps. This track illustrates Haneman and crew's collective maturity, not being afraid to take their time and make a subtle statement.

4 "MAKE It RIGHT" brings the bluesy nature of this album into an upbeat and extremely catchy pop song capsule. With its Little Richard style rock and roll rhythm, paired with an ear worm vocal melody reminiscent of Paul Simon, the listener is instantly hooked. Once again instrumentation is utilized to its full potential as the stark acoustic guitar and slap back vocal that hit simultaneously at the beginning of the song, become a full band extravaganza , eventually returning to acoustic and vocals with the band inching their way back in to finish this standout track with a bang.

5 "Ms. McGrim" is a Murder Ballad disguised as an upbeat funky acoustic blues with a toe tapping, leg shaking dance groove. Contrary to most
murder ballads of yesteryear, once and for all the strong female character (the protagonist of this song named Karma) wins a fight against injustice and hardship. The back and forth between Haneman and Laurence (who share lead vocal duties on this track) is insatiable, raw and dripping with emotion. Again production value is fantastic and Haneman's slide work is both memorible and melodic.

6 "DEVIL'S IN MY GRAVE" is perhaps the track that most shows off Moncarz's skills as a mixing and production wizard, with it's clearly defined sections, sonic textures, and flat out psychedelic outro. With lyrics written from the perspective of an elderly man who is now in the afterlife, this track deals with mortality, regret and reflection, all while the guitar, bass and drums hold down a groove that's so funky and dirty, you think you're trapped in the 1970s' listening to a Rolling Stones offering. From down home gospel chant in the intro and middle, to verses layered with 3 part harmonies, guitar and bass hooks everywhere, and even a Hendrix-esk solo in which you might think your speakers are exploding, this is LHE's epic.

7 "PICK IT UP" is a romantic R&B inspired blues ballad. In shear contrast to the 3 tracks that preceded it, this song is sensitive and rich with longing undertones about the complexities of a long-term relationship between 2 lovers. Again we hear Laurence and Haneman bounce off of each other vocally and lyrically throughout, truly capturing the mood of lovers who are confused about their past and future. "Pick It Up" takes an unexpected turn when the track turns into an upbeat blues shuffle for a minute close to the end, once again illustrating Haneman's unpredictable and left of centre arrangements that keep the listener on their toes.

8 “NIGHT TAKES THE CHANCES (FOR G.D.)” was directly inspired by, and written as a lyrical tribute to the late great Gord Downie. With positive lyrics dealing with internal strength, the power of one's mind, perseverance and of course courage, Haneman brings an energy to this track that is electrifying. Very moved by the story of how Gord Downie truly defied logic during his last tour with the Tragically Hip, and how his own mother stayed strong for quite some time during her own battle with lung and brain cancer many years ago, Haneman felt it his duty to write a song for those who need to fight. Of course, in true Express fashion, the funky blues track is full of catchy unison riffs, gritty bass and vocals, as well as an electrifying drum performance by Asselin as well.

9 "TOUCH OF YOUR LOVE" is a soulful gospel infused funky blues with a joyous fealing on all fronts, reminiscent of early stacks and Motown records. From the solid back beat and bass work, to the interplay between Haneman's guitar and special guest Jeff Heisholt's return on Organ, this is one of "Catch The Westbound"'s stand out tracks. Right from the catchy guitar hook that starts "Touch Of Your Love", through the ripping organ and guitar solos, all the way to the outro that builds and builds in intensity, the listener is sucked in for this medium tempo musical ride. This is another fantastic vocal duet between Haneman and Laurence, dealing with love in its purest form, and finding a relationship that will stand the test of time.

10 "TO BE BRAVE" is an acoustic country blues track that Haneman wrote about innocence, childhood, and the importance of perseverance in realizing one's dreams. Once again the other 3 members of the Express are in fine form when they enter at the beginning of the 2nd verse, providing "To Be Brave" with fantastic vocal harmony, a consistent and warm bass line, and a train shuffle drum groove that book ends the album very well. Performed on a special 12 string soprano guitar, the track has a cozy and intimate old time feeling that makes the listener want to give "Catch The Westbound" a 2nd or 3rd listen.


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