It was a such a cool thing to see a full page feature in the March issue of Rolling Stone – German edition. Great chatting with Maik Bruggemeyer. Below is the English translation, it’s a great introduction if you haven’t heard of me or don’t know a lot about me. This is great to have ahead of our European and UK tour happening in April, which includes 5 dates in Germany.
YOUNGER THAN YESTERDAY – March Issue of Rolling Stone (Germany)
Jerry Leger has found a key to a time long past in his coat pocket. At least that is what he claims in his song “It Don’t Make The Wrong Go Away.” And if one becomes more familiar with the work of the 32 year old Canadian from Toronto, one would be inclined to believe him. He seems indeed to be able to slide through a magical door into the Golden Era of Song – how else would he have come up with all of this almost classic sounding material, that he presents on his records with loose intensity.
The key to this lost world was passed on in his family from generation to generation; “I never rebelled against my parents, rather I plundered their record collection – and the record collection of my grandparents”, says Jerry Leger. “My grandfather was a huge Hank Williams fan. I love those old records and those people, some that are long dead. Especially all those old country and blues singers. And if I hear an Everly Brothers song, it feels like coming home.”
Many artists that he loves – Bob Dylan and Tom Waits for example – also studied the past before making their own art, says Jerry. It is in this tradition that he sees himself. By no means is he a retro musician, just meticulously trying to copy a sound from a certain era – instead he soaked up all these old records, until they became second nature to him and carried them into his contemporary songs. Leger has been making records since he was 19 years old. Always live in the studio, always with his band The Situation, that other than a change of the bass player 11 years ago, has remained the same. “I love recording songs, but I am not so interested in the actual process”, says he. “I don’t know what to do with all those buttons in the studio. I like it spontaneous and even if a few bad notes are played and remain in the song.”
His first six albums were released on his own label Golden Rocket Records (named after a Hank Snow song and financed out of his own pocket). To do that, he worked part time in a hardware store, where his brother was the manager. Today he is a full time musician and has to find a way to make ends meet. “I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to support myself as a musician, when you are waiting for success to come”, says Jerry, “but that is ok, I am a man for the long-haul and I have made peace with that long time ago. Anyways, life throws you curves and puts stones in your pathway. I like to meet that with my creativity and spend more time taking care of the art than focusing on the business side.”
Fortunately in 2013, he ran into songwriter and guitarist Michael Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies who offered him a contract with the band’s label Latent Recordings. He was given a small budget for the recording of “Early Riser” (2014), that was produced by Timmins who also had the idea to make a double album as a follow-up, to show both sides of Leger’s songwriting skills: the raw, blues inspired rock and the countrified folk. “Michael believed that it makes for a good introduction to people that don’t already know me”, says Leger, “and especially in this world where people are focused on single tracks, it is a cool untimely statement.” This was the origin for 2017’s “Nonsense and Heartache”, that will be released in Europe now as well, an album with many potential favourite songs, so romantic and bold, so full of energy and nostalgia, just like its creator.