Here’s another awesome gem from Sonic Boom in Toronto in June…
John K. Samson – Provincial
I was gonna re-type all of this, but this is easier:
The album includes re-recorded versions of the six songs from Samson’s earlier EPs City Route 85 and Provincial Road 222, as well as six songs not heard on those EPs.
And from Amazon:
2012 debut solo album from the Weakerthans main main. Provincial began with a simple idea: to explore four different roads in Manitoba, the Canadian province where Samson lives. “They’re the places I kept going back to. ” Samson talked to relatives, friends and strangers; he visited archives, a tuberculosis sanatorium turned RV park, a forgotten cemetery. The result is this collection of evocative songs, an album that fits beside Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, Sun Kil Moon’s Ghosts Of The Great Highway, Mountain Goats Tallahassee. While the teenage craving of “Cruise Night” recalls the Cars, “Stop Error” invokes Bach; for “When I Write my Master’s Thesis, ” Samson’s inspiration was all jukebox serendipity Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” sailing out from the corner of a Yukon dive bar. Provincial is a record full of fierce, tuneful, vivid stories.
And my thoughts on it? Well, the man has a really distinctive voice, and a distinctive sound. So… it pretty much sounds like a Weakerthans record. This is not a bad thing at all! It’s like discovering another album by them I hadn’t heard before! Think that’s not charitable? Highway 1 East is Illustrated Bible Stories For Children redux. Heart Of The Continent could be One Great City, musically, and if you played me Cruise Night without telling me it was a solo effort, I’d have said Weakerthans had a new single… And that’s only the first three songs!
But please believe me, it’s really OK! I happen to very much enjoy his voice and his sound, and I liked these songs a lot. I especially liked the humour of When I Write My Master’s Thesis. So it’s all good for me! It pleases me greatly to have this one here.
Also: I will be adding the John K. Samson stuff I don’t have to my Grail List. If you see anything other than this one in your travels, the Collector in me wants them!