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About the Artist
It’s been said before that love is a battlefield, and on his latest album Love Versus, Leeroy Stagger comes well armed. The eleventh studio release by the British Columbia native is also a milestone, marking the first recording made at Stagger’s home studio in southern Alberta. But more significantly, his ever-evolving fusion of roots, rock and pop reaches new heights on Love Versus, resulting in 10 tracks that confirm his status as one of Canada’s best contemporary singer/songwriters.
It’s not that Stagger needed much more validation; after working with acclaimed producers Russell Broom (Sam Roberts) and Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) on his previous two albums, Stagger teamed up with Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, Black Mountain, Yukon Blonde) to produce Love Versus, and put together a dream band for the project.
The cornerstone was Pete Thomas, longtime drummer for Elvis Costello, who came up from L.A. for the sessions, joining guitarist Paul Rigby (Neko Case), keyboardist Geoff Hilhorst (The Deep Dark Woods), and Stagger’s longtime bassist Tyson Maiko. Over the course of three weeks, they christened Stagger’s new studio, and in the process changed his perspective on his art.
“I feel like I’ve been hitting my stride over the past three records, but this one especially feels like I’ve set a new standard, and everything I do now has to live up to it,” Stagger says. “Something happened over the course of making this record, with all of us being at my house, totally immersed in what we were doing. I think you can really hear that in the music.”
Stagger began the process with about 15 songs, from which Stewart isolated a handful he felt had the most potential, while instructing his charge to keep writing. It was a challenge Stagger welcomed, and from that moment he knew he’d picked the right producer. From there emerged songs like “Joe Strummer And Joey Ramone,” a tribute to Stagger’s early days in the Victoria, B.C. punk rock scene, and “Crooked Old World,” featuring guest vocals by Joel Plaskett.
Since first making his mark on the Canadian independent music scene at the turn of this century, Leeroy Stagger has toured the world, both on his own and with the likes of Steve Earle, Pixies, Modest Mouse and Evan Dando. Among his achievements are winning 102.7 The Peak’s highly competitive Performance Project in 2015, working with legendary U.S. industry mogul Danny Goldberg, and having his songs appear in such television shows as Grey’s Anatomy and Sons Of Anarchy.
Although Stagger’s sound has most often been tagged Americana, in reality it’s always been much broader than that description might suggest. Learning to ignore the urge to try to fit into any genre has been another crucial change Stagger has made over the last couple of years, and it has paid off magnificently with Love Versus.
What stands out for you as one of your favourite career highlights so far?
Making my latest album “Love Versus” with some of my musical heroes including Pete Thomas! That was pretty great also doing shows with Steve Earle was amazing. Too many highlights to count.
What are you currently working on?
Touring on Love Versus, playing lots of shows and trying to spend time with my two sons.
How’d you get started as an artist/musician?
I started playing in Punk Rock bands when I was 18 and never looked back
Who or what influences your art?
People an their stories, Love, Travel and the Human Condition
What is your creative process like?
Something will inspire me to put paper to pen and usually there is a guitar around to work out some chords to my thoughts.
How do you feel our Art + Brewing initiative can benefit emerging artists?
Art is Art, it all ties together. The more people that see it, the better. Beer is good too!
Winter Call for Art
Deadline: Feb. 29, 2020
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