Val Halla
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Val Halla

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | INDIE | AFM

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2003
Solo Folk Americana




"Rocker delivers songs, inspirational message to students"

Val Halla leaned over to set her bottle of water down on the "Indians" logo in the center of the Brimfield Grade School gymnasium floor and then positioned the black acoustic guitar on her thigh. A couple of hundred high school students leaned in, respectfully silent. Before the first song, it felt like she had already made a connection. "This is a song about when you like somebody," she said. "And that person likes you but you don't know how much and you wish they liked you more."

By Scott Hilyard
Val Halla leaned over to set her bottle of water down on the "Indians" logo in the center of the Brimfield Grade School gymnasium floor and then positioned the black acoustic guitar on her thigh. A couple of hundred high school students leaned in, respectfully silent.

Before the first song, it felt like she had already made a connection.

"This is a song about when you like somebody," she said. "And that person likes you but you don't know how much and you wish they liked you more."

There came a ripple of knowing laughter from the students seated on the bleachers. Halla strummed her guitar.

"I'd like to keep you from goin' home. I wish you would stay," she sang in a sweet, clear voice that bore traces of heartache, whiskey and sass. "Wouldn't mind you stickin' around for a long time."

It's difficult to decide which was more unlikely, that Friday's enthralling and candid life message to teenagers in Brimfield and Elmwood about unlocking a passion and following a dream was delivered by a platinum blonde, skinny-jeaned, funkily mascaraed 26-year-old rocker from Regina, Saskatchewan.

Or that the whole thing was arranged by Elmwood school Superintendent Roger Alvey - as outwardly buttoned-down an administrator as you'll ever meet - after meeting the singer after the Ted Nugent concert he watched from the seventh row at the DTE Energy Music Center outside Detroit last month.

"I know it's all more than a little unusual," Alvey said Friday morning after Halla's performance/monologue/Q&A school assembly. "But I think it really worked. I'm really glad we did this."

Here's the thing: Alvey's neighbor has a cousin who plays guitar in Val Halla's band. Val Halla was the opening act for the recently concluded 41-city tour of Ted Nugent, the long-rocking guitarist from Detroit who may be more famous now for his loud and oversized conservative rants and firearms advocacy than for his rock riffs.

After the Detroit concert on Sept. 5, Alvey met Halla in the lobby of a Detroit hotel and struck up a conversation with her.

"She was impressive. We talked about all sorts of things, and I eventually asked her how much it would cost to have her come to Elmwood," Alvey said. "When she said '$250' I couldn't believe it. Even though she'd never done any thing like this before, she didn't hesitate. I wanted her to come as much for her message as for her music."

She talked about the categorizing tendencies of the music business.

"They tell me I can't be two things. That I'm too country for rock and too edgy for country," she said.

She told the students to make a plan.

"Think about where you want to be in five years, how do I get there and what should I be doing in a year, in a month, the next day to make that happen," she said. "Don't be afraid to dream big, but also be realistic."

She warned against thinking that in order to make it to the top you have to capture the attention of those already there.

"There's a huge amount of talent all around you. Look there first and build something out of it," she said.

She answered questions, most of them sublimely teenaged.

"Are you on Facebook? (Yes)

"Do you know Justin Bieber? (No)

"Are you on iTunes (Another yes)

Afterward, Halla patiently signed day planners ("Bridget, Rock 'n Roll is good for you"), scraps of paper ("Val Halla loves Brimfield") and her signature on junior Joel Szidon's right bicep. She posed for a photograph with everybody who asked.

"She's inspirational," said Bridget Wagoner. "She was telling us that you don't have to be like everybody else and you don't have to let other people tell you what to be. I really connected with what she was saying, to find something you really love and work hard at it."

Chelsea Koch spent much of the 70 minutes that Halla talked, sang and answered question taking her own pictures of the Canadian musician.

"It felt like she was one of us. I write songs, too, and it was really interesting to hear about the music business and how she is following her dreams."

Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or at - Peoria Journal Star

"Val In"

"...think of Val Halla as what Colin James would have been if he were a generation younger, easier on the eyes, and could write better songs." -Stephen LaRose - Prairie Dog Magazine

"Val Halla's influences present in her music"

By Brian TuckerStarNews Correspondent
Valerie McLeod left home at 17 because she couldn't wait any longer. With high school nearly done, she left the prairies of Saskatchewan to be a rock star, to become Val Halla. Her parents thought she was crazy, that she'd fall under the spell of some guy. Nine years later she's recorded a new full-length album, "No Place," and this past summer opened for Ted Nugent's tour. On Tuesday she'll perform at Bottega downtown.

"I moved to Vancouver because I knew I had to go somewhere (to) benefit from a little more industry," McLeod said. "I knew music was what I wanted to do, hands down. I had to get started right away."

Before returning to finish high school she recorded an acoustic album. Finding it recently, she realized how much her voice has changed, in part due to tonsils surgery.

"I think also it was because I was listening to folkier stuff like Jewel and Tegan & Sarah at that time. You can almost hear the influences I was listening to at that time," she said

Influences also included '90s era grunge. As much as her music gravitates between all-out rockers and country-type numbers, there are faint influences of the construction found in that era of music.

Who: Val Halla
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7
Where: Bottega Art Bar & Gallery, 208 N. Front St., downtown Wilmington
Tickets: Free
"You take it all in and it exists subconsciously," she said. "Sometimes when I'm writing I'll hear something and think it reminds me of a song I already know. It's not like you're copying what you know, it sort of leaks out."

Today, as is the nature of someone driven and hungry for success, she stays busy, taking on perhaps too much.

"I was going back to Canada for Christmas so I thought, what am I going to do, sit here for three months? So I decided to do a 25 show tour. Now all of a sudden I'm overwhelmed," she said

She's had on-the-job training for being overwhelmed. In the middle of the Nugent tour her band quit. With emotional support from Nugent's crew, she let the band go short of their two-week notice, put together another band in six hours for the Chicago House of Blues show, and finished the tour with two friends from Canada and a guitar player from Chicago.

"It was the best thing, really, that could have happened, because it got better. I had fun after that." - Wilmington Star News

"Rockin’ blonde Val Halla returns with dependable band, new album"

By Michael Swanger

If you think that platinum blondes have more fun, you should hear the stories of what went on during Canadian rocker Val Halla’s summer tour as the opening act for Ted Nugent, which included a stop at 7 Flags Events Center in Clive two months ago.

During the course of 41 shows across North America, Val Halla, the self-proclaimed “Carmen Electra meets Marilyn Monroe,” and her last-minute, pickup band from Austin, Texas, traveled more than 20,000 miles trying to keep pace with the “Motor City Mad Man.” Meanwhile, they were getting to know one another in cramped living quarters. But as band politics go, their musical journey quickly turned into a road trip from hell when the band’s van was broken into and their instruments were stolen, then midway through the tour the hired guns abruptly quit.

“I feel like I could write a book about that summer,” said the singer-guitarist via telephone from her temporary home in Nashville.

“It was awesome working with Ted. Everyone on his crew told me that anyone I tour with in the future won’t be like this because they operate like a big family,” she said. “I owe a lot to Ted and his crew. They helped me out and were watching over me like big brothers because they knew I was having a tough time with my band.”

That sense of family, let alone friendship, let alone professionalism, according to Val Halla, was missing from her backing band comprised of Berklee College of Music graduates.

“I found out about the tour at 5 p.m. one day, then was on a plane at noon the following day to meet these guys in Texas where we rehearsed and lived together for about 10 days. I could tell they were good musicians, but what I didn’t know is that they had never toured before, and two of them had terrible tempers,” she said.

“So I warned them it would be rough and low pay and over 20,000 miles in a van — not something a band would do their first time out. But it was Ted’s tour schedule, so it was like ‘pull yourself up or get out.’ ”

After a couple of weeks on the road, when everyone started to tire, Val Halla said that’s when it all fell apart. Matters got worse when the band’s equipment was stolen and the drummer refused to buy a replacement kit, forcing Val Halla to foot the bill.

“It got to the point they were being divas. They wanted the same perks that Ted’s band got. I tried to keep up the morale, but couldn’t. The night they quit, they left me in downtown Pittsburgh after a show and I had all the merchandise cash on me, which was dangerous. They didn’t tell me they were leaving, they didn’t say goodbye, they waited until I wasn’t looking and ran out of the club,” Val Halla said.

“After I hitched a ride back to the hotel, we had a big fight. They ended up giving me their two weeks notice and I said, ‘OK, that’s fine. I’ll find someone else,’ ” she said.

The next day, when she relayed the story to Nugent’s crew, they suggested that she fire them.

“So I ended up leaving them in Chicago right after that. I told them I had to make room in the van for the new guys coming, and they were in shock,” she said.

With the help of friendly musicians from Canada and Chicago, Val Halla completed Nugent’s tour, finishing on a high note.

“I was laughing and having a good time again. It was awesome,” she said.

When the young rocker returns to the Des Moines area for a show this weekend, she will bring with her a dependable drummer and bassist to help her promote her new, independent, blues-rock-country album, “No Place.”

“I really like these guys, and they know what they’re doing,” she said. “I can’t wait to get back on the road.” CV - CityView Central Iowa's Independent Weekly

"The Ballad of Val Halla: Meet Canada's Acoustic/Electric Goddess of Guitar"

'... Val Halla makes music that's both hard-rocking and acoustically rootsy... The album is equal parts Joan Jett, Sheryl Crow, and Faith Hill, from the crunchy "the Bad Girl Touch" and "Whiskey Evening" to the flowing acoustic ballads "Black Butterflies" and "Coming Home" ' -Bill Deyoung - Connect Savannah (Savannah, GA)

"Canadian Guitarist Recruited for Ted Nugent Tour After Waco Gig"

...' (Ted) Nugent was quick to sing her praises. “She has the Uncle Ted seal of approval,” he said. “I’m always looking for new artists who have the passion of my black heroes and when I heard her play, I said all right. There’s hope.”
Her versatility was another point in her favor. “Her music is so diverse: rock and roll, pop and — my lips find it difficult to form these words — country . . . When Val does it, she puts herself into it. The bottom line is, she deserves me.” '
-Quoting Ted Nugent As reported By Carl Hoover Tribune-Herald entertainment editor
Thursday May 20, 2010 - The Waco Tribune

"Ted Nugent still loves to make the fur fly"

What bands and/or other artists entice you these days?
Nugent: A Saskatchewan, Canadian, babe named Val Halla, who I am having open for me on the current tour. She reeks of soul and spirit! And anything Joe Bonamassa does thrills me! - Goldmine The Music Collector's Magazine

"Val Halla Plays at Rock Hunger Concert"

Jan. 13th, 2011
"There is something for everyone when she plays, whether you prefer softer, country music or a harder rock feel. Her live show is energetic, playful and fun, and draws the audience in completely. A crowd favourite was her single, “Bad Girl Touch”, which brought further cheers and applause.”
-Erin Alyse Burke

"Review of 2002 Singles"

"Val's music is high energy, modern sounding with a classic (with the emphasis on 'class'), authentic vibe. Her voice has a Janis meets Rickie Lee Jones quality that pushes her upbeat, groove oriented tunes to a whole other level. I am officially a fan!"
-Todd Kerns, Musician/Producer (Age of Electric)(Bassist for Slash) - Todd Kerns - Music Review

"Gary Allen's Music City Beat Val Halla Review"

“I was calling Val, Marilyn from the first look at her picture and after listening to her Sonicbids EPK. After just a few strums and her no nonsense approach to the guitar, suspected she would be the winner of this round. Her sound is a little bit pop with a big dose of electricity. If Nancy Wilson could sing like Val Halla, she could have kept all the money. I have always been a fan of Chrissie Hynde, because she sings and plays as good as any male. So does Val Halla.

Val riffs and revs it up like a rock star and knocks you over with tasteful solos. The songs are clever and brings to mind Bonnie Raitt with the bad attitude of Joan Jett. Val is not afraid to step out of the ladylike gender roles from times gone by, and she no doubt invokes a lot of air guitar with her live show.
Elle Magazine did a top ten list of female guitarists and in my opinion Val could make that list along with rocker Orianthi, from Michael Jackson’s band. She ranks up there with any rock and roll guy as well. Carlos Santana said he could pass the torch to Orianthi. Val is bad ass however and may just club you over the head with the torch. She possibly would not beat me up as her Dad is a Canadian fiddler that likes The Charlie Daniels Band.

One last comparison and I’ll stop. I hear Lita Ford in some of Val’s more metal style guitar shredding, but with more of a rock feeling that well suits her music. Best of all, her music is a sexy riff filled group of songs that are accessible, well performed with a musical maturity well beyond her 25 years. She is high energy and has a wicked tight band, that totally won me over.

Congratulations! See you at Disneyland… ” - “Gary Allen’s Music City Beat” Issue #50 October 2009

"Val Halla Slays Fans at the Gates with Sass & Song"

"...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..." -

"Earbuzz Review 2008"

Guitarist, Valerie McLeod, leads the band Val Halla with an eclectic metal mix that fuses more progressive tonal support ala Rush with lyrics that land between poetry and pros. Her vocal and lyrical approach is a dichotomy as the words reflect darkness, submission, evil, death, despair, with a parental advisory sticker for the occasional word - yet the tone of her voice, strong and clear, has a gentle quality that delivers the lines with conviction but without the anger/evil that the words would assume. The recording and band are first rate - especially the rhythm section. The entire self-titled record sounds as if it were recorded live and has that kind of performance gelled vibe to it. The record opens with "Dirty in the End" - and we immediately hear McLeod's guitar arpeggiated interesting rock work. We are reminded a bit of the Runaways. The lyrics, again, are dark and in this tune mysterious - Val sings 'it won't come off it will never come clean' - and we're left wondering if she's singing about a real or metaphorical diabolical tattoo. The following tune, "The Mark", opens with chugging mid range guitar - the higher strings are panned more right, while other strings fill center left providing and interesting and tight spatial guitar riff - cool. The CD continues with epic tunes similar to a Metallica approach until we get to track 9, "Strange". (actually, there's a brief instrumental 'Interlude' just before). "Strange" has the most commercial potential if that's important to anyone. It has an 80's punk pop groove that is infectious - and the vocal is one of the best delivered on the record - especially when the doubling hits at the chorus. .leaving us with 'you people are so strange'. Yes we are. All tolled, this is a satisfying 11-tune rock collection and certainly one of the finer female fronted bands we've heard. McLeod's compositions are musically rich, energetic, and convincingly dark as is her guitar wielding. We look forward to more. -

"Guitar Player Magazine - Nov 2009"

"This 25 year old 'Carmen Electra meets Marilyn Monroe' and her super tight band nail a hard-boogying riff to the floor, while Halla's seductive singing and coy lyrics, coupled with her explosive octave bends and Gibbons-inspired solo licks, slam her perky pop palms up against the ceiling."

- Michael Molenda, Editor in Chief,

Guitar Player Magazine - Nov 2009 - Guitar Player Magazine - Nov 2009

"Guitar Player Magazine - Nov 2009"

"This 25 year old 'Carmen Electra meets Marilyn Monroe' and her super tight band nail a hard-boogying riff to the floor, while Halla's seductive singing and coy lyrics, coupled with her explosive octave bends and Gibbons-inspired solo licks, slam her perky pop palms up against the ceiling."

- Michael Molenda, Editor in Chief,

Guitar Player Magazine - Nov 2009 - Guitar Player Magazine - Nov 2009


2017 (August/September Upcoming) - A Walk On Part III (working title)

2017 (April/May Upcoming) - A Walk On Part II (working title)

2017 (January Upcoming) - A Walk Part in the War 

2014 Single - I'm A Loser And I Like It

2011 Single - Go Tell It On The Mountain

2010 LP - No Place

2008 Single - The Bad Girl Touch

2007 LP - Val Halla (Self Titled)

2006 LP - Valerie Raye McLeod (Self Titled)

2002 Single - Knowing What I Know Now

2002 Single - Johnny Johnny

2002 Single - Turn Out The Light

2001 LP - At First Glance



Val Halla is a singer/songwriter and guitar player currently based out of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. She has been featured in both Guitar Player Magazine and Guitar World Magazine, and is an endorsing artist for Mack Amps, Carparelli Guitars, and GHS Strings.

The daughter of a motorcycle riding, visual artist mother, and a hot air balloon flying, fiddle playing father, Val Halla was raised a free spirit destined to push limits.

With a sound that bends the rules of rock, roots, folk, and blues, some have described her music as "Gruntry Music" or as one reviewer described, "Courtney Love meets the Allman Brothers".

Blasting onto the western Canadian rock scene in 2001 at the tender age of 17, Val Halla first fell in with members of Vancouver's punk rock community, finding her way through legendary venues like the Cobalt, the Astoria, the Marine Club, and the Railway Club.  Beginning in 2004, various members of the acclaimed 10 piece funk juggernaut Five Alarm Funk supported Val Halla as band members in her touring and recording initiatives, including her debut 2007 self-titled release.

In 2008 Val Halla made the move to Nashville, Tennessee to hone her craft as a songwriter.  She remained based out of Nashville for the next 3 and a half years, while touring all across the United States and Canada, performing hundreds of gigs to thousands of people, including 2 performances at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC.  

In the summer of 2010 Val Halla performed 41 shows as the direct support act to famed classic rock guitarist Ted Nugent on his cross-America tour. She then went on to perform direct support slots for Alice Cooper, Burton Cummings, Eric Burdon of The Animals, and Streetheart. 

After falling ill with pneumonia on a solo North American tour at the end of 2011, Val Halla made the move back to her Canadian prairie hometown in Saskatchewan to regroup, recover, and begin writing new material.  

What followed was 5 years of writing, recording, producing, and mixing what has become a three volume recorded body of work entitled A Walk On Part in the War.  All three volumes are scheduled to be released separately, staggered four months apart beginning April 7th, 2017. 

A Walk On Part in the War is three recorded albums of work split up loosely by genre.  

The first release will showcase heavy rock guitars, blues and rockabilly, and 90's grunge rock nods.  

The second release uses the roots sounds of the banjo, dobro, fiddle, and mandolin, to tell stories from Val Halla's travels across the United States and commentary on places like Sioux City, Iowa and the isolation of a snowstorm on the desolate plains, or the resilience of the people she met in places like Detroit, Michigan or Cleveland, Ohio - the abandoned manufacturing hubs of the "Rust belt" in the American midwest.  

The third release harkens back to old time country artists like Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette, with pedal steel laced ballads and 3 part harmonies.

The only muse that Val Halla has ever followed is her love for music, which has taken her through multiple genres and many circles of musicians and styles in the last 10 years.  Always one to listen, experience, and soak up the sights and sounds around her, it is no wonder that her writing and recordings are as eclectic as her many friends, fans, and followers are.  

Being a fan of Val Halla isn't to enjoy a particular brand of rock music or roots music.  Being a fan of Val Halla is to enjoy her sounds from the heartland of Canada, interpreting the heart and soul of those around her, from Vancouver to Nashville, from Detroit, Michigan to San Marcos, Texas - from Cleveland, Ohio to the Arizona desert - interpretations being told with such cutting honesty that the edge exists whether it be a ballad, folk song, or a rockin' rager.   

In Val Halla's new song "I Still Believe In Rock N Roll" from the upcoming roots release, she states quite plainly to all who might question her musical standpoints, "Rock N Roll is not a genre, it's a f**king attitude".  

Band Members