Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Surprisingly this is album number eight from the B.C. roots-rocker, who always feels like he's brand new and exciting.  Maybe that's because he doesn't get out East much, but it does surprise me he continues to fly a under the radar.  The guy has the writing chops for sure, has been more consistent then, say, Sam Roberts, and easily sits comfortably on a CD shelve between Steve Earle and Ryan Adams.

Teaming up with Los Lobos keysman Steve Berlin as producer, this album is perhaps a bit more polished, pro and tight than others in the catalogue, and really, there's nothing wrong with that in Stagger's case.  After all, it's not like they've trip-hop or anything, it's just got bigger and clearer.  A song like Have A Heart has a strong edge, and Berlin has brought that out with distortion and guitar effects, and a gutsier production.  The beaten-down everyman of Mister is certainly an anti-hero of Americana proportions, and that's the appropriate sound that tune is given.

It's one of those discs that wears really well too, each tune sinking in better with each listen, so you greet them with warm thoughts.  From the nasty punch of Cities On Fire to tender Break My Heart, Stagger shows he has several different sides and styles, all of them strong.

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