Greg MacPherson - Maintenance (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Greg MacPherson

Maintenance (2004)

G7 Welcoming Committee

Winnipeg based singer songwriter Greg MacPherson's been on the road constantly since the release of his 2002 full length Good Times Coming Back Again, but despite being backed by members of indie darlings The Weakerthans it was his solo shows that truly had people raving. It's fitting then that his first release since that record captures the impassioned singer/songwriter in such a way: showcasing his Springsteen by way of Strummer style and proving just how forceful one man and a guitar can be.

MacPherson's in the possession of a rather striking and distinctive yell, which perfectly suits his passionate rendition of The Clash's "Bankrobber." The rhythmic original's reinterpreted in a frantic fashion that fit's MacPherson's raw, immediate style. Tracks from his last full length like "Slow Stroke" and "Good Times" get a similar acoustic treatment highlighting MacPherson's own excellent songwriting skills. The same can be said of the new song "Wide Turn" which debuts on this EP.

However the real treasure here is "Company Store," one of the singer's most beloved songs. That label's entirely based on feedback from his live shows, as the track's never been recorded or released before. It's a tale of the injustice and retaliation of organized coal miners in the Cape Breton, one of which was MacPherson's grandfather. It's a powerful, rocking song heavy with emotional weight. On a personal level the song strongly resonates, as it's a tale not unlike the one I'd hear from my own grandparents. Even outside of the Nova Scotian context the song's themes are universal and should ring true for anyone with family roots in immigrant labor.

Maintenance is a minimalist EP that captures an irrefutably genuine voice in Canadian music. The music's built on familiar rock fundamentals but the aesthetic, performance and ideology involved are working class punk at it's purest.