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First Play: Leeroy Stagger, Love Versus

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Andrea Gin

Leeroy Stagger is getting ready to release Love Versus next week and, even though it is his 11th studio album, the singer-songwriter from southern Alberta seems to be coming into his own.

“There is a bit of a feeling of vindication for me in this record for some reason,” he said in a press release. “I had just come out of a pretty low point in my career and I was pretty close to throwing in the towel. Making this album and working with this crew has re-energized me to make it happen.”

Stagger recorded the album in his newly built home studio, completing work on it only a few days before starting to track it. Pete Thomas (longtime drummer for Elvis Costello and the Attractions) was the first person to record a note.

“I feel like Pete was the backbone of the recording process,” Stagger continued, “He has so much energy and ran circles around all of us.”

The rest of the band members included guitarist Paul Rigby (Neko Case), keyboardist Geoff Hilhorst (the Deep Dark Woods) and Stagger’s longtime bassist Tyson Maiko. “The band as a whole had a pretty special vibe going on during tracking. We weren’t afraid to go out on the edge a bit, and you can hear it in songs like 'Little Brother' and 'Run Rabbit Run,' which happen to be my favourite songs on the album,” Stagger said.

Love Versus is not only Stagger’s most fully realized album musically, but it also represents some personal milestones for the singer-songwriter.

“This album is really the soundtrack to my coming out of the darkness of my past and especially the last three years where I was really battling depression and anxiety,” he explained. “I decided to change my life for the better and it really all starts with gratitude, which really is a common thread in this album. During my journey I realized just how much work we have to do as artists to speak some truth these days.”

You can hear that gratitude in the first single from the album, “I Want It All.”

Listen to our exclusive premiere of Love Versus, which will be released on April 7 via True North Records. Pre-order it here.