Canadian singer/songwriter, Jim Bryson has been releasing solo records for the last decade. While it is a full time job being a solo artist, Jim Bryson has never been one to shy away from collaborations. He is a member of country singer Kathleen Edwards‘s touring band and he has recorded albums with the likes of Howe Gelb, Lynn Miles, Sarah Hammer, and Tragically Hip. His latest collaboration is with Canadian folk-punk legends, The Weakerthans on the album The Falcon Lake Incident.
The reason I focus the opening on Jim Bryson more than the Weakerthans is because the album feels more definitively like a Jim Bryson project. The album largely lacks the mixture of melancholy and quirk that has been the Weakerthans’ trademark. The mixture is evident in a sparse few songs; most memorably it is used on “Kissing Cousins.” Bryson sings “danced with the single mothers/and hit on the kissable cousins/laughed at the jokes growing old by the middle of dinner.” The lyrics seem particularly poignant with the upcoming Christmas holiday. It seems to be about finding ways to make it through a family holiday without going insane.
But for the most part, the songs seem more heavy on the melancholy and lacking the quirk. Which isn’t to say that the album is bad, it just is not quite the level of output I expect from the Weakerthans. For steadfast Weakerthans’ fans, The Falcon Lake Incident is probably worth checking out but for the occasional listener you can take it or leave it.