Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans – The Falcon Lake Incident


It takes nerve to wrest control of a band from one of the country’s most acclaimed songwriters. Ottawa folkie Jim Bryson must have been aware of that when he recruited The Weakerthans to back him on his latest album but if he was intimidated it doesn’t show. If anything the prospect of stepping into John K. Samson’s role inspired Bryson to bring his A-material as The Falcon Lake Incident finds everyone involved in top form.

Falcon Lake is far from the first time that Bryson has worked with The Weakerthans — he has joined them on tour repeatedly over the years — and the two acts seamlessly complement each other. Bryson strips most of the punk underpinnings from The Weakerthans’ sound allowing the band to wholeheartedly embrace its inner country jangle. In return the band packs a restless energy into tunes like “Metal Girls” and “Up All Night” that Bryson has never quite captured on his own while Samson resigned to a backup role proves himself a natural at fleshing out Bryson’s melodies in unexpected ways. The album isn’t a vast departure for either act but Falcon Lake is far from incidental; it stands comfortably alongside the best of both bands’ recent catalogues.