The human condition is fuel for observation, investigation and inspiration, and singer-songwriter troubadour Leeroy Stagger takes it all even further on his seventh studio album.
Radiant Land, the first of two albums Stagger will be producing under Danny Goldberg's Gold Lake Records, was an opportunity he had daydreamed about two years prior to being offered the deal. Until now, Stagger has maintained complete control of his albums, releasing them under his own label, Rebeltone Records. Stagger admits he was hesitant about giving that up, but saw it as an opportunity to work with a producer who had collaborated with some of his heroes, including Steve Earle and Nirvana. In the end, Goldberg left the creative reins in Stagger's hands, while he predominantly took care of the marketing aspect of the album.
Stagger says he wanted to return to the urgent recording style of his first record, which meant cutting everything live off the floor. Over the course of three days, he and his band slogged away until they had the finished product.
“The band was really, really firing on all cylinders. We weren't really rehearsed on the new songs, but we'd been on the road for about a month and a half pretty much up until the day we got into the studio, so we were cooking with grease,” Stagger says, adding a small case of tour angst from a series of slow shows in the US contributed to the band wanting to get tangible results as soon as possible.
The end result is an album that leans slightly further into the rock side of Stagger's folk roots, but maintains a reflective tone of love and life observations collected during his extensive travels in North America and abroad. Recently, Stagger says he has witnessed a stronger fight between the good and the supposed evil and through his music, he strives to provide people with a way to help them through tough times and try to understand the world we live in while finding comfort in one another.
Stagger also makes some direct political statements in the album's title track, which centers on Alberta's oil obsession and the self-explanatory “Capitalism Must Die!” Inspiration for the latter struck as Stagger made his way through the southern US and parts of Canada where he witnessed the effects of corporations taking advantage of the middle and lower class, often making the cost of living unattainable.
“At first I thought it was a bit of a tongue and cheek thing and then I realized, no, I'm fucking pissed off,” he notes of the songs. “I'm not going to sit and beat the drum of the problems of the world, but I want people to think about it, to realize that there's some problems going on and as much as people want to deny that and sit in their own little bubble, when you travel, you see it. You go from town to town and you see the devastation it's causing, especially on the working class, and it's got to be said.”
Stagger's second album on Gold Lake Records, a heavier Queens of the Stone Age-meets-Ryan Adams offering produced with the help of Steve Berlin from Los Lobos, is already finished and slated for release next year. V
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