Epitaph/ANTI- Records 
Fire Note Says: John K. Samson keeps things simple for a very honest and sincere sounding debut.
John K. Samson is best known as the lead singer for The Weakerthans but Provincial represents his solo debut that builds on his well received EP's City Route 85 and Provincial Road 222 that were released in 2010. Provincial reworks many of the EP tracks as well as expanding into completely new material.
As expected, Samson's solo material is more subdued and personal as he covers many subjects surrounding his hometown of Winnepeg, Manitoba that includes hockey, broken glass, snowplows and dwindling villages. It is this very intimate approach that works well even though many of us outside of Winnepeg may not quite get the context.
What is refreshing to hear on Provincial is that Samson does not stay in lo-key mode through the entire record and lets his rock side out on the power pop track "When I Write My Master's Thesis" while the bouncy "Cruise Night" is another nice tempo shift that fits Samson's sincere and energetic vocal.
Provincial is not going to change the world but Samson has a way with words that brings you into his space or in this case - his town. This honest solo outing not only more accurately spotlights Samson's vocal talents but also once again reaffirms his strong songwriting. It should be a record that any Weakerthan fan will enjoy as well representing a fine introduction to anyone who just happens to pick Provincial up.
Key Tracks: "Heart Of The Continent", "When I Write My Master's Thesis", "Highway 1 West"
Bands With Similar Fire:
John K. Samson: City Route 85 [EP] [Fire Note Review 1/13/10]
The Weakerthans: Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre [Fire Note Review 3/25/10]
The Weakerthans: Reunion Tour [Fire Note Review 10/2/07]
John K. Samson Website
John K. Samson Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony