We are frost together: Bryson, Weakerthans get their Canuck UFO yarn on

Jim Bryson and The Weakerthans

Myer Horowitz Theatre

Tuesday, March 1, 7  p.m.,  $17.50 (buy tickets)

You probably already know this, but Canadian winters rule. Is there anything quite like waking up and heading straight for the TV or internet, tuning into the Weather Network so that you can see the forecast for the day for yourself, so you can know for yourself, without anyone having to tell you (though you know they’ll be happy to tell you) exactly what it is you’ll be surviving when you step outside your front door?

And you WILL be stepping outside your front door. This is the Canadian prairies. This is Edmonton. Life doesn’t stop just because the temperature drops. How could it? There’s work to be done, the brutality of nature to thumb noses at as we set about doing it. There is the gloom of near-constant nighttime to be battled against, spirits to be raised. And how do we do that? We go out. For coffee, for beer, to just sort of hang out wherever with friends and talk about the weather, to gigs.

Some go over to friends’ houses to work on musical projects. They complain bitterly about the weather as they strip away boots and coats and gloves and scarves and hats. Then, as the instruments are removed from their cases and sit for awhile, thawing, drinks are drunk, songs are discussed, other plans are made. Like for recording, and touring – setting out in a van in order to test your group’s mettle against the treacherous winter roads of your home and native land.

Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans did all that. Rented themselves a couple of cabins out near Falcon Lake, Manitoba – one for recording, one for hanging out – and in the minus forty degree weather of the Manitoban winter of 2009, they bashed out The Falcon Lake Incident, which is the second so-named event, after Stefan Michalak’s close encounter with a UFO there back in ’67, which is a bit of a digression.

The album is pretty great, full of all those things you’ve come to expect from Bryson and/or the Weakerthans – thoughtfully assembled folk rock tunes that pack an emotional punch but never overstay their welcome. Now those guys are all out on the road together, risking life and limb as they careen from town to town, doing what Canadians do best during the wintertime: dealing. They play Myer Horowitz Theatre on the University of Alberta Campus tonight, with Siskiyou opening up.

In case it isn’t already obvious, this is a great idea. More artists should do this, way more. Think about it: Dan Bejar (Destroyer) and Nickelback teaming up for something completely, unlistenably otherworldly. Black Mountain and Kathleen Edwards (for whom Jim Bryson has been known to play guitar). Corby Lund and the Smalls? Hedley with someone who’ll teach them to be good. The Arcade Fire with Godspeed You Black Emperor and Shout Out Out Out Out.

The possibilities are practically endless, just so long as the winter never ends.

Dig The Weakerthans? Ever had an incident with a UFO? Ever had an incident with a UFO while listening to Jim Bryson? Tell us below?

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