A moment of silence for Winnipeg’s The Weakerthans, who are officially no more.
I admit I am a minor fan and showed up a bit late to their party. I would hear them now and again on Radio 2 but my proper introduction to the band came from their collaboration with Ottawa singer-songwriter and my Instagram pal Jim Bryson. That’s The Falcon Lake Incident, which I don’t think gets enough attention for being such a well-written slice of Canadiana.
Funny thing: the last time I saw Jim Bryson was when he was playing with Kathleen Edwards at the Wilmot United Church for Shivering Songs. Who opened for Kathleen? Well, that was John K. Samson and his wife Christine Fellows.
It was the perfect performance for the venue: intimate, friendly, introspective at times. Samson sang a few songs from a solo project about trees (no, really) and brought out my favourite Weakerthans song, “Tournament of Hearts”. It really doesn’t get more Canadian than a song about a relationship in trouble woven around the game of curling.
I was there with Daughter that night, who is a big fan of Kathleen like her mom. The next morning we had to be on the road for her weekend curling funspiel. I felt a tinge of pride when we thanked John K. at the merch table and he told my girl to “hurry hard”.
The Weakerthans haven’t done much since Reunion Tour and had been quiet as an entity for some time, it seemed. I’m guessing the news of their demise came to little surprise to their fans. They may not have achieved mass commercial success, but they have left a mark of Canadian music that will last far longer than bands that have sold ten times as many records as the Weakerthans.
And I ease us back into traffic
Dusk comes on and I wonder why
I’m always remembering you
In civil twilight