Canadian Music Corner: The Weakerthans & Buck 65

The Weakerthans
Travis Persaud, Contributor Ω

Upon leaving Propagandhi, John K. Samson set his musical efforts on a slightly different course with The Weakerthans, a Winnipeg-based folk-punk band. Now more than a decade and four full-length albums later, The Weakerthans is a stalwart of the Canadian folk-punk scene.

Presenting a wide range of sounds from the slow-burning “Elegy for Elsabet” on Left and Leaving to “One Great City!,” the faux-acoustic ballad for its hometown, what puts The Weakerthans in a league of its own is Samson’s song writing. He has the ability to write about hyper-specific situations that have larger implications and appeal. With such ease, he paints the listener at home in the scene he has crafted.

Be it goofy, like the penguin who taught him French in Antarctica on “Our Retired Explorer (Dines with Michel Foucault in Paris, 1961),” or the disheartened spirit on “Left and Leaving,” Samson pulls the listener into the familiar with a new vantage point.

As a staple of Samson’s ability to write, give “Plea from the Cat Named Virtute” a listen.  Few could write a song from the perspective of a cat that moves the listener with such profound simplicity.

Buck 65
Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

While 40-year-old Nova Scotians aren’t taking over the hip-hop industry, one has made some serious waves in Canada. Richard Terfry, more commonly known as Buck 65, has put out more than a dozen full-length solo studio albums over a career spanning nearly 20 years.

While success didn’t come early, the Buck 65 brand began to carry more weight after the turn of the millennium with albums like Talkin’ Honky Blues (2004 Alternative Album Juno Award winner) and Secret House Against The World.

While definitely part of the hip-hop world, his style is often unique, especially when compared to the mainstream standards. The music often features acoustic instruments and has a very percussive nature to it. The percussive style matches his lyrical delivery in many songs. With a gravelly voice and unique, rough delivery, he appeals to people who aren’t fans of the genre and by fans of mainstream rap stars, Buck 65 is often ignored as something outside the genre.

His work isn’t just on his own albums though, as he’s produced material, notably for Sage Francis and regularly appears on other Canadians’ work, such as Cadence Weapon and Matt Mays. He’s also directed and appeared in Feist’s “One Evening” music video and hosts CBC Radio 2’s Radio 2 Drive program weekday afternoons.

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