An alternative country singer/songwriter hailing from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Leeroy Stagger pens songs dealing with life's challenges and questions that are literate but down to earth. As befits an artist who got his start in punk rock, Stagger's early albums, such as Dear Love (2004) and Depression River (2006) had a scrappy sound that emphasized the rock part of roots rock. But his songs became more thoughtful with time, and he developed a smoother but still emphatic approach best heard on 2010's Little Victories and 2017's Love Versus.
Born and raised in British Columbia, Leeroy Stagger first cut his teeth as a musician singing with punk rock bands in Victoria, leading groups like the Graveyard Sluts and the Staggers. These bands made enough of a ruckus to earn the attention of Hot Hot Heat, who invited Stagger on a Canadian tour in 2002. After this trip through his homeland, he eased himself into a country-influenced style, beginning with the Six Tales of Danger EP in 2002. Stagger's first full-length album, the rough-hewn but impassioned Dear Love, appeared in 2004, and was followed in 2005 by Beautiful House. "Just in Case," an album track from Beautiful House, appeared in a January 2006 episode of the popular TV series Grey's Anatomy, giving him major exposure in both Canada and the United States. The timing was good, as Stagger's third album, Depression River, was released just a few months later, and the album became a critical and commercial breakthrough. As Stagger's success grew, so did some bad habits, in particular a growing taste for alcohol. While mapping out his fourth album, Stagger got sober, and the journey was chronicled on 2009's Everything Is Real, released on his own Rebel Tone label. Only a year later, Stagger was back with Little Victories, which was issued on Rebel Tone in Canada and on the Megaforce-distributed 00:02:59 imprint in the United States.
The Canadian indie label Gold Lake Records teamed with Stagger to bring out Radiant Land in 2012. The prolific artist followed with Truth Be Sold in 2013 and Dream It All Away in 2015. The venerable Canadian label True North signed him, and his first album for his new sponsors, 2017's Love Versus, was also the first he would record in his own fully equipped home studio. It may have been made at home, but the record boasted some heavy hitters as backup, including Neko Case's guitarist Paul Rigby and Pete Thomas, the drummer for Elvis Costello & the Attractions. As Stagger set to work on his next project, he ended up writing and demo'ing enough material to fill three albums, and the tunes became the basis of two full-length long-players. Me and the Mountain came out in May 2019 and focused on the roots-oriented side of his musical personality, while Strange Path, which was released the following September, found him experimenting with more adventurous and personal themes along with production and arrangements that showed the influence of contemporary pop. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Mark Deming