Local musician Lucas Haneman wanted to play the guitar since he could talk.
His parents suggested a smaller instrument at first, the violin.
“That failed,” he says.
Then it was the piano.
“I didn’t like how it was taught. So that failed too.”
His parents eventually gave in to Haneman’s incessant pleads, giving him a guitar for his sixth birthday.
“I’ve played everyday since. My first love was blues. Then in high school, I got into jazz and rock.”
He studied music at Montreal’s Concordia University, and recorded his first solo album in 2011 on his return to Ottawa. Involvement with some local music projects followed before The Lucas Haneman Express was born in 2014.
“We’re definitely making our own brand of blues,” says Haneman. “This is not your Grandparent’s blues. It’s not the traditional side of things. We’re trying to make our own statement. It’s been fun.”
This is not your Grandparent’s blues.
Tearing up Rails, their first blues album, was released in 2016 which led to LHE being nominated for the 2017 Maple Blues Award: Best New Act. This brought more notice. They opened for The Robert Cray Band at Algonquin Commons Theatre. At this year’s Bluesfest, they appeared prior to The Dave Matthews Band.
And while “both of those were huge honours,” the Dave Matthews evening held special meaning.
“I bought a hand drawn picture of Dave from a street vendor in New York City during a high school visit. The band’s Central Park album was the soundtrack to much of my high school life,” says Haneman. “That picture hung on my wall. Meeting him was definitely a bucket-list item. He said that he watched our set from the side of the stage, and had some very nice things to say. I felt really blessed.”
The Lucas Haneman Express have been recording their next album, Catch the Westbound, which is scheduled for a Spring 2019 release.
As well as teaching guitar, and regular local gigs, Haneman has been busying himself with another project – Guitar Tone Tuesday, his weekly YouTube video.
“I have a lot of unique guitars. My pride and joy, for the past 10 years, is a guitar made by Manotick luthier Patrick Hawley,” Haneman explains. “He also made an 8 string guitar for me. I have one by a guy from Louisiana. What’s important to me is how the guitar sounds. It can be a cheap guitar or an expensive one. That doesn’t really matter to me. Is it made to last, and does it inspire? In the videos, I take a look at well known guitars and compare them to less well-known guitars. Alternatives that someone thinking of buying a guitar may want to consider. I’m enjoying it and I’m getting some good comments.”