The Weakerthans were a four-piece punk/indie band from Winnipeg, Manitoba that began in 1997 and went on a Fugazi-style hiatus in 2014. The band was formed by singer/guitarist John K. Samson, who had previously been the bassist in legendary Canadian punk band Propaghandi. Joined by bassist John Sutton and drummer Jason Tait, they released their debut album Fallow in 1997. Following its release, Stephan Carroll was added as a second guitarist, and this line-up stayed throughout their two classic releases, Left and Leaving and Reconstruction Site. Greg Smith took over on bass duties prior to their last album, the also-incredible Reunion Tour.
The Weakerthans crafted a unique sound, where John K. Samson's sung-spoken vocal delivery and poetic yet personable lyrical storytelling really took the forefront. Backing them was a blend of punk, indie rock, and folk influence, with energetic and honest deliveries. They released four virtually perfect albums, all more than worth your time to check out, and have been a big influence on tons of artists, including Frank Turner and Modern Baseball. On a side note, "One Great City!" soundtracked one of the most personal moments in my life, which I won't get into, but it came to me at the exact perfect time, and for that alone I owe this band everything. Additionally, the Virtute the Cat saga is one of the most emotionally affecting things I've ever heard, with the two tracks from The Weakerthans that touch upon this being two of their best, but also the follow-up conclusion explored on two tracks from John K. Sampson's 2016 solo record Winter Wheat, which did also feature production and collaborations from other Weakerthans members (namely Greg Smith and Jason Tait). You can find the whole thing on YouTube here. Happy New Year, and enjoy!