Album of the Week #36:
So I spent a weekend in early May visiting Winnipeg. I was able to crash at Alex’s sisters place for a few days, so that worked out awesomely. Aside from the OLP concert-related post from earlier, I was thinking the city itself deserved a post. It’s one of those places that everyone knows about but no one really knows, or ever will know. Like, who has been to Winnipeg before? Who plans on going to Winnipeg in the future, ever? Who wants to read a blog about Winnipeg? Who cares? That’s what I thought. I spent the weekend there and I still dont know what to write about it.
But maybe its the intriguing nature of this reason alone that I am going to give it a shot anyways.
And what better way to tell a story about Winnipeg than through someone that knows how to tell stories. John Samson, for example – originally from Winnipeg, and lead singer of the Weakerthans. This is a guy that can not only tell a story, but make it into a chart-topping song. Civil Twilight is about a bus drivers thoughts on a shift, Tournament of Hearts is tribute to the great sport of curling, two songs are about a guys life through the eyes of his cat named Virtue. The list could go on. But I’m going to skip to One Great City, the song exploring his love/hate relationship with his hometown, that big faded dot on the map labeled with a W. (well actually there are 16 canadian cities of this description, but you know the one I’m talking about). Scattered throughout it are references to this unique city. “The Guess Who sucked, the Jets were lousy anyway” commemorate the Winnipeg band from the 60s and 70s, and the cities once had professional hockey team. Phrases like “A darker grey is breaking through a lighter one” or “The driver checks the mirror seven minutes late / The crowded riders’ restlessness enunciates” really set the background atmosphere for the cities quiet existence.
Anyways, that’s Winnipeg in a nutshell. Or.. in a song.
Now you know.
Eyeball.fm link: The Weakerthans
Album Singles: Civil Twilight, Tournament of Hearts
Dav Suggests: Virtue the Cat Explains Her Departure, Sun In An Empty Room
Other Songs (on other albums): The Reasons, Plea From A Cat Named Virtue (Reconstruction Site), Aside, Watermark (Left and Leaving)
“And up above us all / Leaning into sky /Our golden business boy / Will watch the North End die /And sing, “I love this town” / Then let his arcing wrecking ball proclaim…”
Before I actually went to Winnipeg, I figured this was just metaphorical. But as I explored the cities sights, I realized this ‘golden boy’ is real. He sits on top of the Manitoba Legistlative building looking over the city, just like the song says.
Formed in 1997, these guys have been releasing an album steadily every two or three years, each time receiving more and more amazing reviews by critics. Reconstruction site is their best-selling album to date, and Left and Leaving was said to be one of the ten best Canadian albums of all time in Chart magazine.
alex is having a nervous day. he thinks he broke my parents fireplace.