Published Sep 18, 2009Fans of Canuck indie faves the Weakerthans, rejoice: the band's vocalist/guitarist John K. Samson will be releasing a three-song seven-inch/digital download of solo material called City Route 85 on Germany's Grand Hotel Van Cleef Records. And in an interview with Exclaim!, Samson reveals that this release, due out on October 30, is only the beginning.
"[The release is] the first part in a planned series of three or four seven-inches I want to write and record about different roads and highways in Manitoba," he says. "City Route 85 is otherwise known as Portage Avenue, one of the main streets in Winnipeg, and the songs are set in three different locations along the avenue. The next two releases will come out sometime in the [next] 18 months, I hope, and will be set north and southwest of Winnipeg."
And North American fans who want to own the physical product, check it out: Samson says that Epitaph/Anti- will release the seven-inch series in the U.S. and Canada. As for why the obscure German record label overseas, Samson says it's quite simple.
"The GHVC folks are based in Hamburg, and have been dear friends for more than a decade now," he says. "I am doing a little solo [European] tour with one of their bands, Kettcar [ex-...But Alive], in November, so it made sense to put it out with them and have some excuse to go over there."
The label's website had this to add: "John K. Samson, der Sänger der Weakerthans, auf unserem Label! Und auf Tour mit Kettcar und solo im November? Wie nennt man das, wenn man Anti-Tränen vor Freude in den Augen hat?"
No, we don't know what that means, but we're still stoked. But what does Samson get out of playing solo that he doesn't get out of a band situation?
"All I really get is more nervous," he says. "I guess there is some terrifying fun involved in trying to hold an audience's attention with just a voice and a guitar."
Samson's last solo release was Little Pictures, originally released in 1993 as a split CD with Painted Thin (infamously and frustratingly, the whole disc was formatted as one track), and re-released in 2006, both on the sorely missed G7 Welcoming Committee Records.