John K. Samson, singer/songwriter for venerated literary minded indie rock outfit The Weakerthans, three song solo record is out now on Anti Records. The Weakerthans latest, Reunion Tour, garnered praise in publications ranging from The New York Times to Spin to Paste Magazine, who said of the album, "If such a prize existed, it would be the leading candidate for this year's Punk Pulitzer." Samson's solo record entitled City Route 85 will be the first in a series of recordings exploring the atmospheric streets and highways surrounding the musician's home in Winnipeg Canada.
The City Route 85 of the record's title is the formal name for Portage Avenue, one of Winnipeg's main thoroughfares. Samson begins his musical study of this storied street with the song "Heart of the Continent," set at the corner of Portage Avenue and Memorial Boulevard, where a demolished building is resurrected by a narrator struggling to evoke the losses and despair that haunt the city and its people. "Grace General" travels west along Portage to Grace General Hospital, seen through eyes preparing to face the death of a loved one. The closing song, "Cruise Night" finds a young man desperate to join in the strange and innocent tradition of driving aimlessly up and down Portage Avenue, a social activity Winnipeggers have participated in on Sunday nights for as long as anyone can remember.