Canadian singer, songwriter, and poet John K. Samson is best known as the frontman for introspective Winnipeg indie rock outfit the Weakerthans. During the early '90s, while playing bass for Canadian punk group Propagandhi, Samson released a 15-song solo cassette called Slips & Tangles. By the late '90s, he'd left Propagandhi to focus on his writing and start a publishing company. Around this same time, he formed the Weakerthans with drummer Jason Tait and bassist John P. Sutton, melding melodic indie rock with a more studious brand of lyricism. Beginning with 1997's Fallow, the Weakerthans garnered acclaim for their creativity and politically conscious ethics. They eventually signed with punk label Epitaph for their 2003 breakthrough, Reconstruction Site, and collected further accolades with 2007's Reunion Tour.
By 2009, Samson had once again begun to focus on his solo efforts and released City Route 85, the first of two EPs he would deliver through Epitaph. Provincial Road 222 followed a year later and, like much of his work with the Weakerthans, focused on his thoughtful and often melancholy brand of minutiae-oriented folk-pop. In 2012, Samson re-recorded the material from both EPs and added several new songs to constitute Provincial, his first full solo album since his 1993 cassette release. It was met with wide acclaim and made the longlist for the coveted Polaris Prize. That same year also saw the publication of a book of Samson's lyrics and poems. With the Weakerthans officially on hiatus, he returned in 2016 with his follow-up solo LP, Winter Wheat. ~ Timothy Monger