As Toronto’s music scene has grown in stature on the world stage, singer/songwriter Jerry Leger has been making his own significant contributions. A favourite of Uncut Magazine and Rolling Stone Germany, Leger has also earned the praise of fellow artists Ron Sexsmith (“he’s the real deal”) and Doug Paisley, while maintaining a long relationship with Cowboy Junkies as part of their Latent Recordings roster, with their songwriter/guitarist Michael Timmins serving as producer.
On his new album Donlands, Leger has taken a different approach, teaming up with legendary Canadian producer/engineer Mark Howard (Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Neil Young), whose trademark atmospheric sound adds an entirely new dimension to Leger’s approach. Named after the street in Toronto’s east end where it was recorded, in what once was the Donlands Theatre, Donlands presents Jerry Leger as he’s never been heard before.
On songs like “I Was Right To Doubt Her,” the film noir vibe recalls Howard’s work on Willie Nelson’s Teatro. But mostly, Leger wears his poetic heart firmly on his sleeve on “Three Hours Ahead Of Midnight” and “The Flower And The Dirt,” songs that underscore Leger’s uncommon ability to pen timeless music and lyrics. Further, as on the Roy Orbison-esque opening track “Sort Me Out,” and the heart-wrenching piano ballad “Wounded Wing,” Leger digs deep to express the strength and resolve we’ve all needed to get through the past few years. He says, “This record is a place I’ve known about and where I’ve always wanted to live, so it was a nice and rewarding visit. It’s another piece of me that floats in a dream. It’s surreal at times, just like writing can be surreal.”