By Will McGuirk
Its been a while since Jerry Leger has played in Durham Region but he makes a welcome return Jun 7 2018 at the Town Brewery in Whitby. The Toronto singer/songwriter, considered one of the best in the country by many (including me), has recently returned from a tour of Europe with his band, The Situation. They played The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland and England. There is a lot of European folk traditions in Leger's songbook so we asked him how it went on this, his first visit to the mythical source.
SC: Much of what would inform your music would come from the British Isles and Ireland - how has visiting the wellspring of folk affected your own songwriting?
JL: "Yeah, music from there has always been a part of my make up, so it's always had an affect on my writing. It was wild to finally be there and I could almost hear music bouncing off of the land, water, streets and pubs."
SC: Have you had a chance to see other musicians in the towns you have toured? Any of the locals impressed you?
JL: "Not really, we played 21 or 22 shows in 25 days, so there wasn't a lot of downtime. We did see some jazz played by some local students in Copenhagen. That was cool and Kyle (Sullivan), the drummer in The Situation sat in for a tune. Other than that we got to hear some cool musicians who opened for us. I dug Matt McGinn who opened for us in Belfast and a great guy too. The Situation and I roamed the streets of Cologne, drinking beers with the band that opened for us there, B. Phonics."
SC: There were places in Ireland and England I visited where I felt very grounded, has that happened to you, has the land spoken to you?
JL: "I wish I could have spent more time in some these places, we were on the move a lot but I felt very comfortable in Winchester, England. We played this old tavern dating back to the 1500's, filled with ghosts, a great bartender and a great crowd. I enjoyed hanging out there and walking around the block a bit. Outside of Manchester, James McKie's Dad lives there and drove us around to see a lot of the surrounding villages and beautiful scenery. I just wanted to stay there. Belfast we had a day off, so that was nice getting to hang out there. Overall I really enjoyed meeting people and always felt welcomed and comfortable. Looking forward to going back"