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Roots Revue coming to a cafe near you

Three of Alberta’s meanest, baddest, ugliest singer-songwriters have joined forces and are coming to a saloon near you.
Leeroy Stagger and the Highway 3 Revue play Communitea Caf
Leeroy Stagger and the Highway 3 Revue play Communitea Caf

Three of Alberta’s meanest, baddest, ugliest singer-songwriters have joined forces and are coming to a saloon near you.

The trio, calling itself the Highway Three Roots Revue – John Wort Hannam, Dave McCann and Leeroy Stagger – will play Communitea Café in Canmore, Dec. 15.

Last week, the Outlook tracked down Stagger for an interview.

“I’m an intergalactic planetary traveller – actually, not so much planet travel really,” he joked. “I grew up in Victoria, but I’ve called Lethbridge home for the last five years.

“I couldn’t honestly describe my music without sounding full of myself, but some ‘cool industry journalists’ have described my sound as a mixture of Ryan Adams meets Steve Earle roots rock,” he explained.

Stagger has worked with several hot acts, including Carolyn Mark and Hot Hot Heat, and burst onto the music scene in 2002 when he released his first EP, Six Tales of Danger. Since then, he’s put out six more albums, the most recent being Little Victories, with Kevin Kane of Grapes of Wrath.

“But I’m influenced by a lot of difference styles from blues to punk to classic rock,” said Stagger. “Lately, I’ve been making a lot of music.

“Me and my band have just finished up a record with Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. I’ve been producing also, I’m going to be doing a John Wort Hannam record this winter as well.”

The idea behind the Highway Three Roots Revue came together about four years ago, said Stagger.

“It’s basically three of the best songwriters in Alberta getting together once a year around the holidays to hit the road together, sing songs and tell stories together on stage, cause all sorts of trouble and laugh,” he explained. “John Wort Hannam came up with the idea and myself and Dave McCann were happy to join in.

“It’s our fourth year now and our friendship has solidified to a point where we will be doing this for a while to come.”

Hannam, from Fort Macleod, has been active through the same period, as his first album, Pocket Full of Holes, also debuted in 2002. His music focuses on storytelling, through the eyes of the working folk of Western Canada.

“John Wort Hannam is one of Alberta’s most popular folk musicians – he’s a hell of a story songwriter – and he was nominated for a Juno last year,” said Stagger. “He’s a funny bastard as well – he once owned a camperized GMC Safari – but that’s a whole ‘nother story...”

McCann, originally from Calgary, now calls Lethbridge home. His fourth and most recent album, Dixiebluebird with his band The Firehearts, is his proudest work to date.

“Dave Mccann is another very popular Alberta roots rocker and gifted songwriter – they say he’s a cross between Merle Haggard and Motorhead – throw in a healthy dose of Tom Cochrane and voila,” said Stagger.

“We all get along very well and make each other laugh a lot – that’s makes for a healthy touring experience,” he confessed. “I think our fans pick up on that and enjoy it as well – we are all pretty different musically so its a diverse show.”

Canmore has always been one of Stagger’s favourite places to play, and he welcomes the chance to return.

“Yes, I’ve played the area quite a bit – we used to get pretty rowdy at the Ho’ in years past – but one of my favourite gigs was my 21st birthday opening for the Rheostatics at the Drake; it was an amazing show and wild night,” he said.

“Canmore may secretly be one of my favourite places in Canada to be in as well as play. I love waking up to those beautiful mountains,” said Stagger. “The Communitea is a huge part of that as well – what a gem you have there!”

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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