Roman Candle Presents Jerry Leger
Roman Candle is delighted to welcome Jerry Leger to St Mary's Creative Space, Chester on Friday 12th May. Special guests St. Catherine's Child and Tom Durkin.
Tickets £10 advance from Grey N Pink Records or See Tickets.
“Jerry Leger has that spark in him that all the great songwriters have. He’s the real deal.” – Ron Sexsmith
Born in the mid-80s, singer-songwriter Jerry Leger came of age in the Upper Beaches area of Toronto. Surrounded by music from a young age, his grandfather first turned him onto Hank Williams, constantly playing the youngster a plethora of the honky tonk master’s great recordings. Although Williams’ voice came from another world in terms of time, geography, and class, Leger was intrigued by the ways that Williams’ songs told a story and often conjured up mysterious images in his head. Other seminal influences were slowly added including John Lennon (and the Beatles), Bob Dylan, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, Neil Young, the Everly Brothers, Tom Waits, and Gordon Lightfoot.
In 2005 as Leger turned nineteen he cut his first independently released album. In the sixteen years since then the multi-talented singer-songwriter has recorded nine additional studio albums as well as one live compilation under his own name. In 2014 he was signed to the Cowboy Junkies’ label, Latent Recordings, releasing the critically acclaimed Early Riser that same year. His second Latent release, Nonsense and Heartache, followed in 2017. A year later the two-album set was picked up by Proper Records for distribution in the U.K and Europe, leading to extensive touring throughout the continent, in the process opening up a whole new audience for Leger’s finely crafted songs. With his next Latent album, 2019’s Time Out for Tomorrow, Leger began to receive positive notices in such high-profile music magazines as Uncut and Rolling Stone.
A restless hungry spirit, when not performing and recording under his own name, Leger stays busy with a plethora of side projects including The Del Fi’s (loose improvisatory rock and roll) and the Bop Fi’s (Leger reciting his poetry over jazz accompaniment). He has also been known to work under the pseudonym Hank Holly (bonus points go to those who can figure out where that name came from!). Making the most of his time while off the road due to the pandemic, in 2020 Leger published his first book of poetry Just the Night Birds, made a film for his mailing list subscribers, The Apartment Show He Never Gave, while releasing what he terms a “surprise” album, Songs from the Apartment. In between all that activity, Leger also cut a handful of one-off singles. One of those tracks, “Halfway ‘Till Gone” recorded with former Moby Grape member Don Stevenson, turned the Replacements’ Tommy Stinson into a fan!
Songs from the Apartment was a stripped-down lo-fi affair recorded in Leger’s home using a cheap tape recorder with an internal microphone. Two songs from the current album, “Underground Blues” and “Sinking In,” were also recorded in Leger’s home, this time using two SM58 microphones fed into his vintage 1981 Tascam 4-track tape recorder. The remaining nine tracks included on Nothing Pressing present Leger’s work in two starkly contrasting soundscapes. “Nothing Pressing,” “Protector,” and “Still Patience,” are solo acoustic recordings cut live in the studio with little embellishment save Dan Mock’s overdubbed harmony vocals and, on the title track, producer Michael Timmins’ ukulele. The other six tracks are prime roots rock and roll featuring his long-time band The Situation (drummer Kyle Sullivan and bass player Dan Mock). Among the latter songs, “Kill It With Kindness” and “Have You Ever Been Happy?” have the kind of drive, energy and spirit that are sure to make them highlights of his future live shows.
Leger often times finds himself at a loss as to explain the source of his songs. He feels his song-writing, while clearly drawing on experiences filtered through a panoply of influences, often verges on being a supernatural experience. Over the course of the eleven songs on Nothing Pressing, the songwriter’s songwriter engages with questions of existence, mortality, hope, trust and heartbreak while simultaneously conjuring feelings of isolation, reflection, longing and gratitude.
Paired with such evocative lyrics are wonderfully crafted melodies, soulful vocals and the spirit and energy of a mature songwriter, comfortable in his skin and growing as an artist with every release. Nothing Pressing serves a wonderfully refreshing tonic in troubling times.