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John K. Samson & The Winter Wheat

Beloved Weakerthans frontman new project featuring band's rhythm section

John K. Samson & The Winter Wheat

There Is No Mountain

Tue, January 24

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Doug Fir Lounge

Portland, OR

$18.00 - $20.00

This event is 21 and over

John K. Samson & The Winter Wheat
John K. Samson & The Winter Wheat
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.
There Is No Mountain
There Is No Mountain
There Is No Mountain is a reference to a Zen koan, a lyric from a Donovan song, and an americana/psych-pop duo known for its catchy off-kilter sonic adventures. The Portland, OR-based band toured extensively around the country and released heaps of varied folk/americana material under their previous name (The Ascetic Junkies) before paring the band back down to the core duo (married couple Kali Giaritta and Matt Harmon), changing the name to There Is No Mountain and recording a new batch of musical pieces.

Although they say they don't have a particular message or agenda, anyone who hears the couple at work knows they are up to something inspiring. For some reasons you can explain, and for some you really can't, their energetic live show and subtly virtuosic arrangements keep your spirits lifted for days.

The duo sings nearly everything in harmony while Giaritta plays a medley of tom drums and percussive instruments, and Harmon animates his acoustic guitar using nimble fingers and a myriad of carefully chosen effect pedals. African rhythms, jazz harmonies, classical arrangements, theatrical melodies, and psychedelic swirls seep through the americana exterior, making their live show a total surprise to any first-timer.

Harmon and Giaritta are travelers at heart, so if you can't find them in Oregon, you might check one of the other 49 states (try: music venues, national parks, yoga studios, metal concerts, or the homes of various CouchSurfing friends), abroad, or possibly in outer-space (Harmon hopes to fly in a civilian spaceship before he dies).

There Is No Mountain is a new name and a new sonic direction for a couple of people who've been playing and writing music together for almost a decade - the next chapter in the story Harmon and Giaritta started with The Ascetic Junkies. The band plans on continuing to tour nationally and releasing new material online as often as possible in 2013.