Lethbridge based singer-songwriter Leeroy Stagger’s career has been slowly taking off and it’s only going to soar higher after signing a new record deal with one of his idols, Danny Goldberg who started a new label called Gold Lake Records.
“ Danny had heard my last record through a friend and I guess he dug what I was doing. He called me at home, I thought it was a joke,” Stagger wrote in an e-mail, taking a break from mastering John Wort Hannam’s new CD.
“ I had read his book "Bumping into Genius" a year before, I was thinking how cool his outlook on the music business is,” he continued.
Stagger noted Goldman flew out to Los Angeles to watch the band play Hotel Cafe.
“It was weird but exciting seeing him in the flesh and realizing that it was no joke. He called a week later when while we were in Colorado and we discussed me signing with his new label Gold Lake Records. That was last March, I signed the deal in February,” he said.
“He has years of experience, his first gig was at 19 running press for Led Zeppelin so he's seen some things,” he said.
He noted he has completed both of the new records for the two album deal.
“ Both records are done. The first one, "Radiant Land," was recorded in Nashville and comes out May 15, the second we did in Portland with Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and will come out next year I'm guessing,” he said.
He noted the new music continues along the same themes as his previous works — love, politics and the human condition.
“The new one was recorded at Club Roar in Nashville. It’s not your typical Nashville country schlock studio. It’s a big warehouse designed to make art. All of us were in the same room together cutting almost everything live off the floor. Not a lot of vocal overdubs was quite liberating. There were a couple tracks on the record recorded at my studio. The record was done very fast but certainly doesn’t lack quality. The record is out in Europe and they seem to be loving it,” he noted adding the guitars are a lot louder and distorted on the new CD.
“We experimented a lot more and the record is a lot less slick than my previous records,” he continued.
He hopes the deal will help elevate his career to the next level.
“I'm just hoping to elevate my career to the next level and gain some new fans. He manages my hero Steve Earle as well so I'm hoping to get to work with Steve on something,” he continued.
While the new deal means he won’t be able to put out any of his own material on his own label, Stagger is lending his skills to numerous other Lethbridge musicians including Matt Robinson, who released his new CD last month as well as John Wort Hannam, whose CD he is finishing and Karen Romanchuk. He is also talking to the Coal Creek Boys about their next CD. He is also planning a big cross-Canadian tour.
“Well I can’t release my own stuff on Rebeltone for a while, but I plan to work in some capacity with some of the artists I’m producing with song placements and release stuff. I'm still very interested in building up Rebeltone and help to release kick ass music. Me and my manager are working out details to keep the thing progressing,” he continued.
He noted he brings his experience and his finely tuned songwriter’s ear to the other projects. While he has played on them, that is not his main goal when working on another artist’s CD.
“My studio "The Rebeltone Ranch" was built solely for me to make my records but after finding so many great musicians with no idea were to start making records, I decided to help,” he said.
“I'm not interested in pumping work out of there just for the sake of it and I’m kind of picky as I don’t have a lot of extra time but I really enjoy it. I just try to get the best art out of the artist and get the song across to the listener. I'm starting the new Indio Saravanja record next week. He is an amazing songwriter and musician. Currently I'm mixing John Wort Hannam’s new album and it sounds great,” he enthused.
A version of this story appears in the April 18, 2012 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times