There’s no dust on Victoria-raised, Lethbridge-based musician Leeroy Stagger. In addition to running a busy studio Rebeltone Studio, raising children and being constantly on tour, this year he is releasing two new CDs and a companion book.
“I haven’t written a new song in about a year, so I guess this was about cleaning out the pipes,” said Stagger, spending a little time at home briefly in between tours.
“It’s been crazy, but it’s exciting,” Stagger said.
He has just released “Me and The Mountain,” giving a full house a preview of the new music at a special Geomatic Attic presentation at Brick and Mortar June 4.
“Strange Path” comes out in September, featuring Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ drummer Pete Thomas.
A new single “Strange Attractor” has already been leaked from “Strange Path.”
“I think ‘A Strange Path’ is a masterpiece. It’s the best I’ve done. But they just didn’t work together. Though there is a song ‘The Great Unravelling’ that might fit on ‘Me and The Mountain,’” he continued.
“Me and The Mountain” hearkens back to the alt country and roots rock of Stagger’s early career.
“Strange Path is accessible. It’s more of a continuation of (his last album) ‘Love Versus,’” he said.
David Korten’s book “The Great Turning” influenced the subject matter of “Me and the Mountain.”
“I write about what I see, feel and I write about what I read, whatever is important,“ he said, adding the book is a tough read about how human society has turned away from ecological concerns to a more selfish, empire and greed based society.
So there are a lot of heavier songs on the CD, like “Broken Generation.”
“That’s a heavy song and I haven’t felt the need to song that one in a while, but I’ve been playing most of the CD on the tour,” Stagger said.
He has some pretty high-powered talent on the “Me and The Mountain” in addition to his hot touring band of bassist Tyson Maiko, drummer Kyle Harmon and multi-instrumentalist Ryland Moranz.
Juno Award-winning musician and producer Steve Dawson plays on “Me and The Mountain,” as does Monkeyjunk’s Steve Marriner.
“I produced both of the CDs myself,” Stagger said, adding he recorded them both in his own studio.
“Usually I like to record in other locations to take me out of my comfort zone, but it was nice to be at home for these records,” he said.
“It was great to have Steve Dawson on the CD. It was really special,” he said, adding it was also great to have Steve Marriner on board.
“Steve Marriner is a really great friend and he’s super talented. He plays baritone guitar and harp on the CD,” he said.
Brad Barr from the Montreal roots rockers the Barr brothers also played on the CD.
“It’s probably the best CD I’ve recorded. It feels real,” he said.
He did most of the writing for “Me and The Mountain,” during a three-week residency at the Banff Centre.
“It was a really amazing experience. I’ve played there several times, but never worked there,” he said, adding he tapped into minds of talented staff including Lynn Miles, Kim Richey and 54 40’s Neil Osborne.
“They were always there if I needed help with something. It was great to see people with different experiences writing songs. Lynn MIles was very encouraging” he added, noting Kim Richey also sings on “To The Mountain.”
“She recorded her parts in Nashville, though,” he continued, adding he also enjoyed visiting with 54 40’s Neil Osborne.
“He was only there for a couple days. We have similar views on politics, so we’d eat dinner together and just talk,” he said.
The Next CD, “ Strange Path,” takes on a more experimental pop bent. It will be released Sept. 13.
“It’s the closest thing I’ve recorded to a masterpiece,” he said, adding listening to the band War On Drugs really inspired the music for “A Strange Path.”
“This album is quite personal. There is a bit of subtle activism and the human condition. But a lot of it is about me trying to raise my family and make art. And the things I‘ve been dealing with but people don’t tend to talk about,” he continued.
There is also a tribute song a to poet and musician Leonard Cohen, who passed away last year.
“I wrote a poem about him an decided to out it to music,” he said, adding he was also listening to a lot of punk poet Patti Smith.
that inspired him to write a companion book to the CD which will be sold separately.
“It has some of my poems and lyrics and stories behind the songs. The book ties it all together,” he said.
Stagger has another European and U.S. tour booked for later this year and will be back to play Lethbridge Colleges Fresh Fest in September.