ALBUM REVIEW: “Provincial Road 222″ John K. Samson
John K. Samson
Provincial Road 222
Weakerthans frontman John K. Samson is a master storyteller who excels at describing in vivid, poignant detail the little moments that define the ups and downs of lives and relationships. Provincial Road 222 is the second in his series of solo 7-inch EPs devoted to his hometown of Winnipeg.
Opening track “The Last And” is a melancholy waltz from the point of view of an English teacher pondering the end of her affair with the school principal. Heartbreaking lyrics including the memorable refrain “I’m just your little ampersand” are enhanced by orchestral touches to make this a classic Samson gem. “Petition” takes the form of a fictional petition to induct Winnipeg-born hockey player Reggie “The Rifle” Leach into the NFL. “Stop Error” is an a cappella piece set to a J.S. Bach chorale–but the quirky twist is that the beautifully-sung lyrics are about computers. It’s an example of Samson’s cleverness and creativity, but it lacks the heart shown in his best work.
Overall, Provincial Road 222 shows Samson’s continued ability to take risks that mostly pay off, and deserves a place in every Weakerthans fan’s collection.