John K. Samson – Provincial

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:

From Wiki:

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.

Cool beans.

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!


20 thoughts on “John K. Samson – Provincial

    1. keepsmealive says:

      J., I think you’d like all the Weakerthans stuff too, super-great smart power-pop rock loveliness from Winnipeg! If you see anything by the band or Samson solo in your travels, it’s definitely worth the chance and the £. Also, there’s a taster track in yer inbox. 😉


  1. jprobichaud says:

    I agree with everything you said. I actually really love this album. It was neatly lodge in my top albums of 2012 list. I saw him at the Winnipeg folk festival in 2010 or 2011 (I’m getting old so I don’t remember my dates any more) and he was leading a hometown workshop that included Glen Hansard and Jon and Roy. Great stuff.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      That’s great! Any chance to see him (or the band) in action is a must. We saw Weakerthans in Saskatoon (I think for Reconstruction Site, James could confirm). I really like everything about what they do. And I know that, with more listens, this solo album is only gonna get better and better, in my books.


        1. keepsmealive says:

          Well Dude, you know what I’m gonna say, right? GIVE ‘ER! To date, Weakerthans have 4 studio albums and all should be easy to find. All are TOTALLY WORTH IT. Such smart and fun music. And this solo album by Samson is equally good. Yep, Dude, it’s time to bring the Weakerthans into your life. Go go go! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

            1. stephen1001 says:

              If you’ve seen Wedding Crashers Mike, the weakerthans did the tune at the very end leading into the closing credits. Or the song ‘one great city’ with the chorus ‘i hate winnipeg’ is another staple.
              Thanks for reviewing this Aaron, hadn’t realized the singer had released a solo record.
              “The Reasons” from reconstruction site would consistently be in my top 5 non-cheesy love songs!


              1. keepsmealive says:

                I never saw Wedding Crashers, didn’t know a song was in there. Cool!

                If you can find a copy of this in your travels, definitely pick it up. And The Reasons… oh man what a great tune. Among MANY!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. stephen1001 says:

                  Wedding crashers is fun – it was before Vince Vaughan felt like he was just going on autopilot.
                  Perhaps not a film for all tastes but one of the great comedies from the early 2000s in my books!


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