Welcome to Indigenous in Music with Larry K, this week we welcome from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Logan Staats will be in the spotlight. Singer, songwriter and performer. His new album is out, “A Light in the Attic” a nice mix a Indigenous Folk tunes.
Enjoy music from Logan Staats, Dustin Harder, Hataalii, Soda Stereo, Link Wray & His Ray Men, Qacung, Irv Lyons Jr. Morgan Toney, Latin Vibe, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pure Fe, Michael Bucher, CHANCES, Centavrvs, Raye Zaragoza, Melody McArthur, Ozomatli, Jota Quest, Elastic Bond, Siibii, Natalia Clavier, Ana Tijoux, Joey Stylez, Dj Shub, Northern Cree Singers, The Spiritual Warriors, Matiu, Nathan Cunningham, Rellik, Cary Morin and much more.
Look around our site to find out all about us and our programs and visit our SAY Magazine Library with all our featured guests.
OUR INTERVIEW IS 30 MINUTES INTO THE PROGRAM
LOGAN STAATS IN OUR SAY MAGAZINE FEATURE
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LOGAN STAATS – LIVE AT STATION UNION GREAT HALL
In 2018, veracious Mohawk singer-songwriter Logan Staats was chosen from 10,000 hopeful contestants vying for a spot on musical competition show The Launch. Before an audience of 1.4 million viewers, Staats won, officiating the breakthrough that would lead him to Nashville and Los Angeles, and to his single “The Lucky Ones” winning the Indigenous Music Award for Best Radio Single. “The Lucky Ones” also occupied #1 in Canada.
In the years between now and then, Staats has come home, making the intentional decision to re-root at Six Nations of the Grand River. “I wanted to bring my songwriting back to the medicine inside of music, to the medicine inside of reclamation,” he says following a phase of constant travel and intensity. He’s been working away on his forthcoming album, A Light in the Attic, ever since.
To Staats, music is a healing salve, contemplatively composed and offered to listeners in need of comfort. Since returning home, Staats has been able to create music authentically again, reclaiming his sound through honest storytelling and unvarnished, sometimes painful reflection.
The songs on A Light in the Attic represent the sparks of an emboldening journey. Staats sings of reconciliation, of recovery from addiction, of surviving intergenerational trauma, and of convalescence after heartbreak.
Lead single “Deadman” was written during Staats’ recovery. It’s a song of dual meanings, illuminating not only romantic love, but a salvaged love for life itself. As Staats’ ancestors were residential school survivors, the video for “Deadman” was partially filmed on the property of the Mohawk Institute, a former residential school in Brantford, Ont. (The Six Nations of the Grand River has since called for that location to be among grounds searched for remains.) The video follows Staats through his community, including Land Back Lane, where Six Nations land defenders have mobilized to protect the area from proposed subdivision development.
On the tear-jerking “California”, Staats sings of romantic agony and failed grand gestures. “It’s so sad and so dramatic,” he says, “but it’s a true story.”
With what could be an antidote to the heartache of “California”, “Wish I Knew Your Name” tells the story of Staats getting a ride from an elder when he was a kid. After he got in the car, he realized the woman’s husband’s ashes were along for the trip. It scared him at the time, but he’s come to view that moment as formative. “Of all the songs I’ve written, this one is my favourite,” says Staats. “It’s about un-definitive, enduring love.”
Staats’ love of home is at the heart of A Light in the Attic. An evocative testament to rock’s cathartic spirit, the album was recorded with borrowed microphones at Staats’ apartment, at Six Nations recording studio Jukasa, and at downtown Brantford’s Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which was entirely empty due to pandemic-related lockdown measures. “My nation and my community are in every chord I play and every note I sing,” says Staats. “They’ve saved me.”
Counting musical icon Buffy Sainte-Marie, for whom Staats has opened, among his mentors, Staats wants to pay forward the guidance he’s received from his own community by connecting with Indigenous youth through music. He frequently leads workshops and visits local schools. “I want them to know there’s a reason to keep going,” he says.
A Light in the Attic is proof of that reason. Says Staats, “there is a way out of the dark.”