Singer/songwriter John K. Samson enlists the rhythm section from his renowned band The Weakerthans for much of his second solo album, Winter Wheat, available from Epitaph/ANTI, October 21st, 2016.
Inspired by the search for connection and community, his hometown of Winnipeg, and our individual and collective struggles with addictions to drugs, screens, and fossil fuels,
John K. Samson’s new full-length album, Winter Wheat,isa sprawling, masterful and timely work by a writer at the peak of his powers. Winter Wheat was produced in garages and homes through a challenging Winnipeg winter by Samson’s partner and collaborator, Christine Fellows, and his Weakerthans co-founder and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Tait, and mixed in the spring in Toronto by Robbie Lackritz (Bahamas, Feist). The spare and thoughtful arrangements also feature Greg Smith of The Weakerthans on electric bass, Ashley Au on double and electric bass, Leanne Zacharias on cello, and Shotgun Jimmie on electric guitar. Several of the 15 songs, most directly Select All Delete, Vampire Alberta Blues, and VPW 13 Blues, are inspired by Neil Young’s enduring 1974 album On the Beach, and that record’s honest and unvarnished spirit is evident throughout Winter Wheat. Postdoc Blues follows an aging student struggling to maintain faith in the possibility of a better world, while Fellow Traveller is loosely based on the life of the British art critic and Soviet spy Anthony Blunt. 150 years of Winnipeg’s history is revealed in the two and a half minutes of Oldest Oak at Brookside, and Samson’s recurring characters Virtute the cat and her troubled human companion (from The Weakerthans songs Plea from a Cat Named Virtute and Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure) make their final appearances in 17th Street Treatment Centre and Virtute at Rest. Like the crop itself, which is planted in the fall, sprouts, goes dormant through months of snow and rises in the spring, Winter Wheat is a determined, beautiful, resilient response to difficult and extraordinary times.
The End of America is a band of friends, singers and travelers who blend three-part harmony with rock and Americana. The Philadelphia-based outfit masters a style that resonates with fans of Ryan Adams, CSNY and Dawes.
All frontmen of previous bands, Brendon Thomas, James Downes and Trevor Leonard met on tour in 2005. They went on to form a trio that highlights their vocal chemistry and captures the raw honesty of their performances. TEOA recently wrapped the recording of their debut LP, a follow-up to their previous EPs, Shakey and Steep Bay.
The new album was written in the wake of a series of close calls: one involving a van accident on tour, and the other when drummer Jarrod Pedone was involved in a hit-and-run that left him in a coma for months. Fortunately the band walked away unscathed, and Jarrod made a stunning recovery. The following winter all members relocated to Philadelphia to write and hone their new sound. Joining forces with longtime friend and engineer Dave Downham in the producer’s chair, the band tracked 11 new songs at nearby Gradwell House Recordings in Haddon Heights, NJ.
With the album complete and ready for release, the band is gearing up for a full year of touring. Anyone who has seen TEOA can attest to their powerful harmonies and stage presence.
The End of America has performed at SXSW, Savannah Stopover and the Baltimore Folk Fest. They have shared the stage with Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), Simone Felice (The Felice Brothers) and joined Beck in Los Angeles to perform for his Song Reader sheet music release show. The trio’s appearance at the show aired live on KCRW and received praise from Spin, Filter and The Hollywood Reporter.