Treasa Levasseur Broad

It has been pleasing to watch the artistic evolution of this talented Toronto, ON roots songstress over recent years, and Broad (her third full-length offering) stands as her most impressive work yet. Levasseur took the challenging step of recruiting four different producers and backing bands, then recording them in three studios in two cities (Ottawa and Toronto). The result effectively showcases her eclectic style, yet never sounds incoherent or confusing. She shape shifts from blues to soul to R&B to pop-inflected material with ease; her voice lacks the grab-you-by-the-throat power of Dusty or Etta, but is supple, melodic and convincing. She brings something fresh to covers of Neil Young ("Walk On") and Randy Newman ("God's Song"), while Mike Evin's "We Should Dance" is delightfully infectious. Levasseur's writing is by turns witty and perceptive, shining on tunes like the catchy "Much Too Much" and the slow-burning, soulful "Feel Good Time." The accompaniment is unsurprisingly excellent, given that it comes from noted blues bands MonkeyJunk and Raoul & the Big Time, her the Daily Special (with David Baxter) and the Ken Whiteley-led Wroxton All-Stars. Production duties are shared by Steve Marriner, Terry Wilkins, Whiteley and Baxter, with musical guests including Paul Reddick, Suzie Vinnick, David Celia and Champagne James Robertson. This is an all-star cast on a stellar outing. (Slim Chicken)