It’s said the cells in your body replace themselves every decade or so. After 11 albums, two EPs and 17 years as a singer-songwriter, Leeroy Stagger has been wondering if maybe the soul works the same way. Ten years sober, with two kids, a home in Lethbridge and a world class recording studio to go with it, he’s far removed from the hard-living twenty-something who started on this musical path. As far as Stagger can see, they aren’t even the same person.
Strange Path is the name of Stagger’s newest album and book, a name that applies as much to his unexpected route from the BC punk scene to southern-Alberta singer songwriter as it does to the album’s own evolution. Following from 2017’s Love Versus, itself a creative re-emergence after a years-long fog of anxiety and depression, Strange Path is the end result of a triple-album’s worth of scrapped demos, record label rejections, and a spirit-reviving retreat inwards. It’s also Stagger’s most ambitious and philosophical creation yet, a veritable self-help book pulled from a lifetime of struggling towards the light and brimming with the hard-won joy at the heart of his recent renaissance.
From the appropriately haunted “Leonard Cohen is Dead” and the cosmic reflections of album-closer “The Light” to the hard-edged stomp of “Jesus and Buddha” and glam-rock bliss of “Strange Attractor,” it’s an album of sharp hooks and sharper insights, a statement on loss, forgiveness, pain, faith, The Clash, Gord Downie, love, death, fear, letting go, higher powers, Mother Earth, obsession, redemption, and the path we all walk through life.
Exploring all that terrain takes one monster of a band. To piece it together, Stagger surrounded himself with some of the best players in the business. The first step was enlisting “Love Versus” drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Elliot Smith, Los Lobos) to once again lend his meticulous musicianship to the mix. If anyone could navigate the heady themes Stagger was charting, it’s the man Tom Waits once called the best rock drummer in the world. Longtime collaborator Tyson Maiko stepped in on bass, with Paul Rigby (Neko Case, Garth Hudson, Jakob Dylan) joining on guitar, and Stagger’s touring band, the Rebeltone Sound (Ryland Moranz on guitar, mandolin and vocals, and Michael Ayotte on piano, synthesizers and keyboards) rounding out the arrangements.
Production duties were trickier to pin down. Brad Barr of acclaimed act The Barr Brothers shared the helm on four of the eleven tracks. That left Stagger, a veteran producer of other artist’s albums, to steer his own ship for the first time. Self-producing took a more methodical and patient approach than the shoot-from-the-hip style Stagger usually preferred. Then it was turned over for mixing by 5 time Grammy winner Ryan Freeland (Ray Lamontagne, Bonnie Raitt, Aimee Mann, Rodney Crowell and more).
It turned out to be a blessing, though, another insight gained on the long road to Strange Path.
Of course, there’s no path so long without a fork or two along the way, and one of the roads-not-travelled on the way to the album turned out too tempting to abandon. Released on May 17th, Me and the Mountain is a companion piece to Strange Path, an Americana-influenced counterpart to Strange Path’s contemporary sound. Featuring guitar wizard Steve Dawson (Zubot and Dawson), and award-winning multi-instrumentalist Steve Marriner alongside Stagger and Rigby as well as Barr, the album shows yet another facet of Leeroy Stagger’s ongoing musical reflections.
Following up a career-redefining album like Love Versus is no small task. Strange Path and Me and the Mountain prove Stagger is more than up to the challenge. Bristling with love, grit, and confidence, they show the singer, songwriter, producer and performer at his best. He’s stared down his past, retraced his steps, reflected on the beauty and pain of a life that’s had more than its share of both. Maybe he’s not the same person he was 10 years ago, but if anything, Leeroy Stagger is more himself than ever.
Strange Path the book will be out at the same time as the album. It is described as an artists’ path through trauma, healing and music and finding self purpose through the art that this work entails.
21st Avenue is an alt-rock band comprised of Oztin Bowden on vocals, Jesse Debona on Drums, Dayton Jans on Guitar and Levi Trodd in the bass. The band was formed in 2016 when guitarist, Dayton Jans, met Oztin Bowden playing a solo show at a bar and invited him to jam with him and former drummer Rhys Vanden Dungen. The three played well together and started to write music and play shows in Coaldale and Lethbridge, and eventually wrote and recorded their debut album titled, “Don’t Sleep”, released in the end of 2018. Shortly after the release of the album release, Rhys decided to leave the band. The band had then recruited Jesse Debona on the drums, and Levi Trodd to pick up the bass duties. The four-piece is now continuing to play and write music with hopes of being able to press beyond their local area. The band has an alt-rock sound with influences from bands such as Glorious Sons, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Keys, and The Tragically Hip. The band is currently capable of playing shows up to 2-3 hours long and is continually expanding their repertoire.
Alyssa McQuaid & Coyote Junction Bio
Alyssa McQuaid has been performing across North America for 10 years. She has opened for acts such as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Aaron Prichett, Lindsay Ell, Hey Romeo! and many more. Joined by Nick Straat (vocals and guitar), Scott Davidson (guitar), Brody Turnbull (bass guitar) and Justin Blayne (drums) together they create an ensemble of talented musicians supplemented with excellent harmonies. Together this 5 piece band forms the project, Coyote Junction, where their passion, talent, and drive collides to form something truly memorable and special. A stylistically unique Country Rock party band from day one, the members of Alyssa McQuaid and Coyote Junction have been been singing, performing, and playing in sync as if they’d been together their entire musical careers. Throughout the course of the band’s union, they have won over the hearts of music lovers from all walks of life; their set list consists of popular dance songs from the 60's-modern day and will have all your guests on their feet. Guaranteed to please!
The Nova Scotiables have built a reputation across western Canada as a high energy maritime revue unmatched by their peers. Bringing an unconventional approach to traditional, original and contemporary maritime music, these musicians have become a hit - not just on the maritime circuit but across a wide range of events.
Blending a tireless work ethic, boundless energy and professional composure, from 2015 to present they've been working tirelessly to entertain themselves, as well as fans of all ages. Folks can take home a taste of The Nova Scotiables - available on iTunes and all your favourite digital music retailers. Their recordings capture the band's original music and exemplifies their take on traditional tunes.
Fearless leader Captain Hodgie steers the ship on lead vocals while bashing the bodhran and drums. AJ Baragar makes crowds swoon with sweet lead vocals and energetic guitar. Eric Minden’s enthusiastic bass playing gets him dancing madly into the middle of audiences. Heidi Pittman’s soulful fiddle and backing vocals invokes joy, sorrow and the East Coast spirit. Together this crew really brings the party!
In February 2019, the Nova Scotiables released their newest single, “Never Going Home” along with a music video. The track highlights the band’s creative song writing, infectious energy and unique style.
Pick up your pint... Lift 'er high in the air - get 'er up, get 'er up, get 'er up there! Now count out loud;
The Cayley was born out of a south-side of Lethbridge Apartment in August, 2018. Fast forward one year, and they're rockin' the coulee's and beyond in southern Alberta with a self-released debut single and an EP!
From retro Rock, to Reggae and Punk, The Cayley knows how to put on a show filled with variety. And, with half of them being Lethbridge College Alumni, they are thrilled and honoured to play at Coulee Fest 2019!
The Corey Hotline
Bob Segar has stated his preference for “that old time rock 'n' roll” since 1978.
39 years later The Corey Hotline obliged Mr. Segar with some modern-sock-hop-celebratory-garage-rock greatness.
The Corey Hotline’s music is influenced by inanimate objects such as temporary glitter tattoos and stolen bowling shoes. It’s the theme music for hot summer bike rides that end in skinny dipping in a public park or modding your 1994 Chevrolet Astro van with under glow lightning.
The Corey Hotline is eager to please. The music is hot, heavy, and the phone lines are ready.
The Brighter Together Stage is proudly hosted by: