Music » Livewire

The Weakerthans

With the High Strung, Despistado, and Solo Flyer. Sunday, November 14, at the Grog Shop.

by

comment
One of music's most fascinating relationships is the slippery link between punk and twang -- the way so many tattooed tough guys secretly record whiskey-soaked westerns in their bedrooms, when no one else is around. Blame it somewhat on the influence of Johnny Cash, a stone-cold badass who could cause even the surliest mohawks to quake in their Doc Martens.

But a better reason for the intertwined appeal is the opposites-attract nature of each genre's brute lyrical honesty: Punk often intellectualizes abstract issues, while country allows for introspection that's purely emotional and personal. John K. Samson knows this dichotomy well, first as the ex-songwriter-bassist of politicopunks Propagandhi, and recently because of the group he founded in 1997, the Weakerthans. Roughly the Canadian equivalent of whimsical Saddle Creekers like Bright Eyes -- albeit only if Conor Oberst used the wry lyrical eye and churning bar-band licks popularized by the Replacements -- the band largely trades in politics of the heart. Their Shortlist-nominated 2003 album, Reconstruction Site, uses smoky pedal steel, the occasional touch of Beulahlike whimsy, and down-home vocal longing to paint evocative snapshots of lovely loneliness, hometown ruts, and the observations of a sagacious cat.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.