Saturday, July 22, 2017 This Week's Paper

John K. Samson

// "Provincial"

Every person has those times when they want to be swept up in the moment, to release every worry or concern and fade away from the world for a little while. John K. Samson's album "Provincial" does just that. For the first time, lead singer for indie rock group The Weakerthans has put out his own solo album, creating a new musical experience for his awaiting fans.

Inspired from his home province – Manitoba – Samson takes his listeners down four roads blended together to tell the story of a land and the people within it. Provincial is roughly 37 minutes long consisting of 12 tracks telling the different stories that are all unique to some aspect to Samson as well to Manitoba. Unlike previous music done by The Weakerthans, "Provincial" goes about its music in a new way. The instrumental makeup contains not just the average guitar and drums, but also violins, piano, ukulele and cello mixed with Samson's smooth voice, all of which are blended to give that lasting impact of the album as a whole.

Similar to other songs done by The Weakerthans, the lyrics to all 12 tracks on "Provincial" are spoken in such a way that it is almost poetic no matter the context of the rhythm. These lyrics, as well as the way they are sung, fit together well with the atmosphere of the songs. Samson, in the underlining of his music, enters pieces of himself, thought provoking inquiries, as well intimacies of a small town. This does not mean you are going to listen to the CD and understand what it is like to grow up in Manitoba. "Provincial" radiates an essence you would not expect from its visual appeal.

The rhythms establish a variety of emotions as the album is played. The first 45 seconds on the fourth track, "Grace General," is nothing but a blend of light warm strumming capturing the listener before the words seal the deal. Other tracks, such as "When I Write My Masters Thesis," give the catchy vibe of upbeat guitars and drums that add to the uplifting vocals. "The Last And" is one of the simpler tunes involving an office love with a deep message soaking through every lyric. It is clear that Samson puts emotion into every piece of his music.

As a whole, whether you are a Weakerthans fan or just someone in the mood for that something different effect, you should listen to this album.

John Samson plays Tractor Tavern in Seattle on April 1.