Thanks to everyone who came out and supported the Christina Martin/Steven Bowers show at the Sunset Saloon. I know you all enjoyed it almost as much as the performers and I did.
Hot on the heels of such a success, I wasn’t really planning on doing anything besides resting on my laurels for a while. I told many of you that I was planning another show for November (that has since, mysteriously, become not one but two potential shows…), but never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be doing something sooner, especially not RIGHT AWAY, but sometimes, an opportunity comes along that you just can’t pass up. With that in mind, we’re announcing yet another sudden, surprise show at the Sunset Saloon on Monday, September 21, featuring one of the best young up-coming roots-rock/alt. country singer/songwriters anywhere, Leeroy Stagger and his amazing band The WildFlowers.
Anyone who’s been paying attention to my shows for the past few years (not to mention the growing buzz across the country and in Europe) knows that Leeroy Stagger is the real deal. Originally from Victoria BC, our boy started out in loud, rough & tumble punk band The Staggers where he gained quite a reputation as a performer and a rock & roll badboy. Somewhere along the line though, he started to become interested in things that weren’t so loud & silly, and he started hanging out with folks like Carolyn Mark at her hootenanny nights. She thrust him up on stage with an acoustic guitar, and the punk rock wasn’t going to work so well there, so he was almost forced to learn, and eventually write, some rough around the edges country/rock tunes. Those led to his first solo album, Dear Love. That album caught the attention of my good friend and loyal listener Allison Green, who sent me the CD and told me that I had to hear this kid. The CD blew me away immediately, and I’ve been on board ever since. Leeroy came to town after that, and I convinced our old pal Stu at CKUW to check him out, and he got the official TwangTrust seal of approval, and so a star was born. Leeroy’s next record, Beautiful House, was a change of pace, somewhat, showing Leeroy’s growth and a slight change in direction. It was produced by Danny Michel and so it had a more layered, pop sound. It got Leeroy a higher profile and even a spot on Grey’s Anatomy! As much as it was a part of Leeroy’s personality and it did great things for him, the layered pop sound just didn’t sit right, so he went and rerecorded some of the album in a more rough-around-the-edges roots/rock style, and released that as Tales from the Back Porch. That turn back towards rock and country and folk and everything good continues. Leeroy’s next album, Depression River, contains all of that and more. There are some haunting, powerful, moving songs (one listen to Carol or Saskatoon will make you an instant fan) and tastes of the punk rock that he was raised on. Later Leeroy hooked up with a couple of other great rootsy, rockin songwriters, Tim Easton and Evan Phillips, and put out an amazing singer/songwriter collective record called One for the Ditch. That gave Leeroy the confidence and the experience to strip his songs down even closer to the bone, and led to his most personal, powerful, and mature record to date, Everything Is Real. When I heard this album, I immediately named it Album of the Year, and I haven’t regretted it since. It contains just about everything I love in a record, great writing, amazing playing, memorable melodies, and his most cohesive and interesting collection of songs to date. It shows the emergence of a truly important artist, and one that I will be following for many years to come.
Leeroy’s played in town before, mostly solo, but sometimes with a small backing band. On the strength of this album, however, he put together a band now called The WildFlowers (owing to their mutual Tom Petty influence) which really suits and supports Leeroy in a way that no other group ever has (or likely will). That band made its local debut earlier this summer at a really memorable show at The StuDome. It’s been a great year for shows, no doubt, but that show stands out as one for the Top 10 list for sure. But not every one of you made it out… and those that did, I’m sure, would jump at the chance to relive that great show, and see what other tricks the boys might have up their sleeves already.
And so comes this opportunity to see them again. The boys are heading to Brandon for the WCMAs on Sept. 19/20, and they’re doing their amped up rock & roll show at The Albert here on the 23rd, but what are some hungry young musicians to do in between? Well, play my living room, that’s what! The StuDome was booked, so here we are, putting together yet another show at The Sunset Saloon. I just can’t let these talented musicians sit around not showing off what they can do, so we’ll set them up in the living room and let them do their thing. I promise you, this is not a band to miss, especially in these intimate, comfortable surroundings. If you like Steve Earle, Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Hayes Carll, or any great songwriters like that, this is the show for you. If you don’t, what the hell are you doing listening to me in the first place?
The show is soon. We need a good crowd out to see this rising star up close. Again, we’ll have snacks and drinks for you to enjoy. I likely won’t plan a huge dinner, but if anyone wants to do that again, well, let’s do it! You can bring a snack and a beverage if you wish, or just enjoy what we’ve got. Again, you can name your own admission price. I think the show is well worth $20, so that’s what I’ll pay, but if you think $15 is right, then toss that in the fishbowl. If you can only afford $10, heck, we’ll take that too. Just come, enjoy, and tell your friends that you saw Leeroy Stagger up close and personal.
Reserve your chair now! Tell a friend! Hope to see you here on Sept. 21. If not, I’ll be in touch when the next big show is confirmed!
Of course, stay tuned to UMFM (and that guy on CKUW) for music and more details on this fine show and every fine show that comes to town.