Tue, Oct 30, 2012.
With his rich twang, and pedal steel, piano and fiddle-fueled cosmic country, you'd think Jerry Leger calls Austin home. There's grand swing to the songs, Western swing, and at times he reminds me of Jimmy Dale Gilmore. But Leger is from Toronto, he just grew up right, hearing the connection between rock, country, blues and folk. Still in his 20's, he's been pumping out releases, some EP's, and now this fifth long-player, at a surprising, high-quality rate.
Leger has a dark edge, even on the love songs, a realistic and fatalistic look on his character's actions. Sin shows up in the stories, just like the Louvin Brothers warned us. But there's always something gained in the end, wisdom or redemption, real life results. Even the love interests are flawed. The muse in Filthy Mouth doesn't just embarrass him with F-bombs; she has a filthy heart and mind as well, torturing while he falls deeper for her. It's a lyric worthy of Nick Lowe, clever and deep.
Ably produced by Tim Bovaconti (Ron Sexsmith, Burton Cummings), the band romp through up-tempo rockabilly, and get serious on the edgier ones, acoustics and fiddle building up the tension. Above it all are Leger's memorable vocals, full of hurt when needed, impish charm on the country shuffles. He's also a well-seasoned performer, gigging constantly, and New Brunswick gets the honour of some of the very first shows of the tour, two weeks before this album comes out (although it won't surprise me if he has copies at the show for sale). Leger will be with The Situation Thursday night, Nov. 1, at the Capital in Fredericton. Next night, Friday the 2nd he's at Plan B in Moncton, and then on the 7th he takes over the Red Herring in St. Andrews.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).