In the photograph, the surprisingly large wet nose of a young doe appears in a darkened doorframe. Snow flakes, lit by the flash, fall in the background. The deer, peering in, seems to ask: “What is going on in here? Can I come in? Falcon Lake is lonely this time of year.” I imagine standing in the same doorway, also hoping to be asked into this cabin in the woods. And who wouldn’t? Inside there is a fire, point blankets, whiskey and music.
I imagine walking through the Manitoba woods, following the footsteps of Stefan Michalak, the mineral prospector who described an unidentified spacecraft landing here in 1967—a close encounter the RCMP filed under The Falcon Lake Incident. Instead of bright lights it is sound that draws me through the trees. Faint at first, I hear music that is at once familiar and unexpected. I know these voices, but not in this place. The first voice sings and I hear Ottawa. A second joins and it is unmistakably Winnipeg. I walk closer and there is a guitar, drums, bass, then vibes, trumpet. The sound is lush but there is space as the first voice begins: “And we slept under constellations, scattered under all kinds of combinations, wondering where in the hell it is we’re even calling from.” Yes, this is a different combination, but one that makes even a cabin in the remote wilderness feel like home. And with this new album from Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans, we are all invited inside.
Recorded in Falcon Lake over six days in the winter of 2010, The Falcon Lake Incident brings Bryson, one of Canada’s most engaging voices, together with the passionate work of Canadian rock heroes The Weakerthans. In this collection of songs, we are treated to our best songwriters and musicians enjoying making music together in a place with few interruptions other than the occasional four-legged visitor at the door. Expertly woven together by Darryl Neudorf (Neko Case), this is a musical close encounter that transports us to a place where it is just friends and music under constellations—and it really doesn’t matter where in the hell we’re calling from.