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VAL HALLA rock music guitarist blonde chick slays fans at the gates with sass & song

Val Halla in Scandinavian mythology refers to the "hall of the slain"; if ever you get to be a member of her all-original-music-rocked audience on this latest tour with her band, slay you she will...when she finishes her show at any venue she plays, it definitely becomes the mythic "hall of the slain" alright, deftly vanquishing her audience with her guitar, vocal and (most pre-eminently) songwriting skills and talent, hastening the annihilation of the musical memory of any band that comes onstage before her act. The folksy-brunette-turned-stunning-blonde-rock-red-guitar-wielding-songwriter-chick Val Halla (a.k.a. Valerie Raye McLeod), dispatches rock fans to the realm of those yearning to hear more of her original sound...her unique approach to the rock music genre has a touch of Nashville country sustained by a heavy metal foundation (when accompanied by her band), combining the experience of years learning piano and writing her first song at the age of 5, learning guitar at 11, leaving home at 17 (inspired to follow the life of a musician by having seen a live show of music by Hawksley Workman), 9 years of actively and with professional dedication pursuing her musical craft, 2 recent years touring as a solo artist (acoustic guitarist) internationally and now becoming the opening act for Ted Nugent's current 2010 summer tour (image above: Ted Nugent with Val Halla).

This 26 year old "Devilishly Dazzling Doll" with her signature angel-winged eye makeup and smokey-laden voice, is a musical talent to be reckoned with. Her music is so original in nature, she quickly discovered that her sound is hard to put into a commercial category according to recording industry people that she has tried to get her music produced with...and as a result has named her new album "No Place" in response to the claims by the music industry "suits" that her music won't fit anywhere. Halla calls her brand of music "Rock Americana" as in Sheryl Crow-meets-Joan Jett...some have called it Allman Brothers-meet-Courtney Love...still others have named it "Gruntry" which implies a clash of the 1990s grunge music she grew up with and the country music that now surrounds her currently, residing in the Tennessee town known to many as "Music City USA" (Nashville). Whatever it is classified, her music is as appealing as her looks and on-stage "bad girl" manner. Its a dynamite combo just ready to explode into a cloud of musical marketability where she could easily crossover between a country and rock music fan base. I think the "suits" better wake up and sign her to a deal as soon as possible...she's only going to continue to get better at her craft as you can see by the devotion to her music in talking with her as I did for this interview...until a recording label picks her up, Val Halla is a promise waiting to be kept.

As her aptly named blog entitled, "Val Halla-My Journey To Rock N Roll Heaven" (with a subtitle that reads "In our dying days, where the outcome is predefined, we chose to fight despite our fate, standing tall at Valhalla’s gate") has definitely been all that for her...a task that requires one to stand tall for sure, be steady and at times defiant, literally fighting for survival in the face of the many
devastating situations encountered by her on this tune-filled
tumultuous trek. She has no record label (self-producing her CDs "Val Halla" and "No Place") and was in need of a tour manager for the band. Financially it has been a strain even though she has had help via a touring grant from the Canadian Saskatchewan Arts Board as Val is from Regina, Saskatchewan Canada originally. But all the trials and travails she claims is worth it to her as the exposure for her music now is very great due to her current tour with legendary rocker Ted Nugent, playing to three or four thousand people per show. Its estimated that the tour closer in Detroit on September 5th, 2010 will garner an audience of ten thousand.

When she was informed that she would be touring with Ted Nugent she only had two weeks to put together a band to get ready for it. Then her tour van had been broken into and equipment stolen. In another instance the van broke down causing the band to be late for their sound-check at a concert venue. Being the true rock music road warrior she is Halla took it all in stride. What else could possibly go wrong? Guess. Val Halla, just prior to coming here to do a couple of shows in Chicago between Nugent tour dates, discovered that her band (Neal Davis-guitar, Alex Ferreiro-bass, and Marty Higman-drums all from Austin, Texas) was deserting her in Pittsburgh
having fallen prey to their inability to handle the grind of a road tour or maybe it was just another case of the "band drama trauma" thing that takes down so many aspiring musical acts these days. This left the determined and road-hardened Val Halla stranded without a band for the balance of the Ted Nugent tour. But fortune (and maybe the Norse gods of old) smiled down upon her, not to mention her tenacious persistence to succeed. Val Halla was backed by the local heavy metal rock band Till Death for her House Of Blues Chicago show this past month and as a result she recruited the more-than-capable guitarist Mike Styrczula from that band to help finish out her tour with Ted Nugent (Mike also plays with the group Chris Servia & The Ivory Theory). She also acquired the former band talent recruiter for the now-shuttered and defunct North Beach nightclub, Joe Chavez and annointed him her tour band manager. Val also brought in a bass guitarist dude named Ron Lawson who flew in from Canada right before the show I saw and has a very capable rocker named Tristan Helgason on drums (from the Canadian alternative rock band Ghosts Of Modern Man) to fill out the all-new cast of members for her band.

The first of seven all-original tunes that she opened with (mostly from her recently released album "No Place" March 9, 2010) was "Whiskey Evening" a rock guitar-driven tune with a splash of country about making friends with Jack Daniels after a bad day at work and being stood up - of course when you've known him as long as I have he goes by the name of John - ha ("I don't want to be your one and only I just want to be your baby"..."I don't want to be your everything I just want to make everything all right"), then "Be One Tonight" a clean and tight performance by the
band on this one, followed by the tuneful promise that she will be "Coming Home" one of these days from her travels, then "Makers Moon" which I thought was a good representation of a tune that could have crossover appeal 'tween rock and country audiences, "Dark Sister" a country-slanted tune about a change in her disposition ("I'm not the girl I used to be since my dark sister came lookin' for me"), "40 Days and 40 Nights" good professional-sounding rock with the drummer throwing his sticks up in the air at the end of the song, and finally closing with "The Bad Girl Touch" probably her best example of the metal-rock that she is currently displaying on tour which is an autobiographical piece about what Val Halla is really like (as she points out in her interview video below).

Val Halla the "Rocker Chick" backed by her heavy-metal-based-band on the autobiographical tune "Bad Girl Touch":

Val Halla's music is not so much revolutionary as it is evolutionary...her current commercially available recordings lean towards country music with a splash of rock and heartfelt lyrics that draw you into her world of folksy
tunesmithing...yet when you see her live during this current concert tour the commercial music presented on her websites and in her recordings belies the everpresent musical influences of some of her heavy-metal band faves such as Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin and the like...especially evident when she is fronting her current metal-oriented rock band that is on tour with her. The professionally recorded internet-based tunes turn into in-your-face rock anthems when you see her live. So...bottom-line...I see her music as still evolving due to the "introverted-brunette-acoustic-guitar-carrying-good-girl" image/sound battling with the "extroverted-electric-guitar-wielding-BlondeRockerChick-bad-girl" aura...I believe she is still wrestling with this duality and which vehicle will be best to use to showcase her music...personally the latter appeals to me and it seems to me that it does to her, the end I know she will make the choice that is right for her...she is very much her own person and has done a great job carving out her unique musical niche...hmmm...there may be some additional insight here to the real Val Halla/Valerie McLeod...there is a very revealing passage that Halla had scribbled on the side of the box she was carrying her CDs in which she was busy selling to avid goes:

"No judgement All fear

Panic evil's here

Keep saving yourself

Way down in that beer

There's some ugly mistress

Hiding out in that mirror"

Val Halla has re-booted her image, her music and her show and is now in line for a raging commercial success (she certainly has been paying her dues for the past decade)...and touring with "Uncle Ted" will be an experience she will gain alot from...but until that decision has been fully committed to on how to purvey her craft (bad girl? good girl? country? rock? metal? gruntry? or a mix thereof?) and she has fully reconciled with've come a long way're almost there...but you've got just a little further to go before you enter Rock N Roll Heaven...however, I think they hear you now...rattling the gates. 'Nuff Sed.

August 19th, 2010
Ted Nugent "Trample The Weak Hurdle The Dead Tour"
The Catalyst Santa Cruz, CA

Val Halla-lead singer/rhythm guitar
Mike Styrczula-Lead guitar
Ron Lawson-bass
Tristan Helgason-drums


Joe Chavez


"Girl Next Door" Valerie McLeod before the Val Halla rocker-chick reboot:

Val Halla's commercially-oriented music video of the tune "Stay" from her new CD "No Place":

Val Halla's tune called "Coming Home" with scenes from her journey on the road to Rock N Roll Heaven:

Can't get enough of Val Halla? Hey, scope out this interview:



  1. hi val
    i wuv your music and i miss you,yes i sound weird but i do wuv you always cause your most beautiful lady i ve ever seen and you are a great singer,i hope your always happy,check my station page here you should get a stickam page and do live shows be cool or post your live gigs love ya stay safe bye micro mark.

  2. We saw Val last night at Bottega Bar & Gallery in Wilmington, NC and she was wonderful. There were only a few people on a very cold night but Val Halla warmed up the place. Go see them because great things are going to happen for these hard working artist.