Lucas Stagg and Paul MacLeod w/Kev Corbett

Sure Thing: Thursday, April 2, Gus' Pub, 2605 Agricola, 9pm, $5. Saturday, April 4, The Carleton, 1685 Argyle, 2pm, free and at the Seahorse/w Remedy, 1665 Argyle, 9pm, $5.

"We're playing 21 shows in 18 days," says Lucas Stagg, on day four of his eastern-Canadian tour with Busted Flat labelmate Paul MacLeod. The two songwriters embarked on a similar tour this past October and Stagg says it went so well that they decided to do it again, this time in support of Stagg's Great Big Gone and MacLeod's new album, Bright Eyes Fade. Though they met on Waterloo's songwriter scene, they got close on the road. "Until we were in the car together for eight hours last time, we had spent five minutes together," Stagg says. "Now we're really good friends." They also share a common appreciation of punk rock---Stagg refers to the previous day's Joy Division morning and Replacements afternoon.

The tour is taking Stagg and MacLeod off the beaten track, to places like Picton, Tweed and Perth. "You've got to play smaller cities," Stagg says, citing the limitations of playing only Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Though Stagg now lives in Toronto (with his girlfriend, singer/songwriter Tanya Philipovich), he grew up in Kitchener, Ontario.

Southwestern Ontario is an important place for MacLeod, who spent lots of time in Toronto while playing in The Skydiggers, but calls Kitchener home. "I like where I live," MacLeod says. "And distancing myself from my family and the people I'm close to would be a detriment to what I do." MacLeod's last album, Close and Play (2000), was produced by (then lesser known) Hawksley Workman, and caught the attention of Maple Music. "'Broken Wing'---they loved the song," MacLeod says. He remains independently minded as he works on completing his next recording. He also plans to pick a venue for a live DVD performance. "Something close to home," Macleod says. "And something meaningful for an audience that helped get me started."

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