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My childhood, quite literally, stunk. The town dump was located approximately two miles from my home and they burned garbage on a weekly basis. Then, there was the manure. Acres and acres of animal dung spread from one end of the county to the other. If it was-n’t being spread on a field, it was being shipped in tanker trucks along major highways, greeting everyone’s nostrils with that distinctive ammonia stench. On warm days, I simply lost my appetite. Living in the city seemed oddly cleaner by comparison. Hence, I find myself greatly amused by this latest upswing in urban-centred country music. Sure, it’s a genre as old as the Silver Dollar Room, but now it’s being marketed as “citygrass” by the folks at weewerk, who hope to rope in a fresh young audience with a new-old brand of raw, punk-influenced country. On any given night in Toronto, indie rock professionals get to fantasize about driving fast in an old beater, loving hard and leaving mean and getting down and dirty with the working class. The country dreams the city folk set aside when they throw on a suit and head out for work the next morning are the real chores people get stuck doing in rural areas because they are trapped in the middle of nowhere, with few cultural outlets. So whilst I have nothing but glowing praise for the obvious talent of the United Steel Workers of Montreal, I can’t help but feel as though they are being marketed to a crowd that has never really known what “slinging hash and changing cash” is all about, let alone the perils of liquid fertilizer at close range. (Karyn Bonham)

CD, weewerk,

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