Topical song-poet, Jon Brooks, has just earned the nomination
for the prestigious Canadian Folk Music Awards ‘Songwriter of the Year,’ for
his new release, “Delicate Cages”!
2012 has been a vintage year for Brooks, who also got signed by the esteemed
Canadian label, Borealis Records (Ron Hynes, The Once, Stan Rogers), joined
the booking roster of Real People’s Music (Chicago), and placed in the top 5
Canadian musicians enjoying wide airplay among US folk-djs.
Dedicated to uniting folk song tradition with today’s stories, Jon has an
uncanny ability to press his ear against the heartbeat and the soul of the
times we live in.
In just under 5 years, he has been nominated three times for a Canadian Folk
Music Award (Songwriter of the Year), been profiled on CBC Television, named
the Musician to Watch by the Toronto Star, and took home the coveted
Kerrville New Folk Competition in Texas (only the 4th Canadian to do so
Jon’s music is also featured on Neil Young’s Livingwithwartoday website and
he recently won both the International Songwriting Competition (Folk
category) & the US Mountain Stage NewSong Contest, and placed as a Finalist
in the Music2Life Contest (run by ‘Paul’ of ‘Peter, Paul & Mary’ fame).
All this might not have happened prior to 2006. In fact, upon his return
from a 1997 trek throughout war ruined Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jon quit writing
songs and performing, claiming, “I’m at least a 1000 books and emotions shy
of earning the right to stand behind a microphone.” 8 years of musical
silence later, and at the suggestion of one of his Canadian literary heroes,
Austin Clarke – Jon wiped the dust off his Taylor Jumbo 615… there’s been
no stopping him since!
Though Jon’s music is filled with grey and morally ambiguous characters
living on the outskirts of approval, his mandate is unequivocal: “I’m not
interested in ‘happy songs’ – I’ve chosen to write healing songs and, for
that reason, I’m obliged to reveal a wound or two now and then. I’m even
less interested in writing unhappy songs: I want to write hopeful songs,
inspiring songs and I expect I owe today’s listener some hopeful argument –
some legitimate reason – as to why we should believe our present world could
be improved, or healed.
And in these times of political unrest, Brooks’ own topical brew of
Canadiana couldn’t be more opportune!
Below: Jon Brooks performs “The Only Good Thing is an Old Dog” at Bayou Concerts on Oct 26, 2014.
Below: Jon Brooks performs “Mercy” at Bayou Concerts on Oct 23, 2011.
“Brooks follows the tradition of poking holes in accepted truths, a path blazed by the likes of Woody Guthrie and John Lennon… truly impressive songs that will likely be sung for generations to come.”
— Penguin Eggs
“Toronto’s Jon Brooks stands among an exalted few in the enduring Canadian
song tradition – Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Fred Eaglesmith,
Bruce Cockburn – as a lyricist, composer and performer with a fierce
commitment to his craft and his vision.”
— Toronto Star
“In my experience of booking roots-music festivals, videotaping and
radio-broadcasting live music performances, I have observed that there are
only a handful of solo guitar-slinging folksingers who are able to instantly
grip and maintain an audience’s attention for whatever time they wish. Jon
Brooks is one of those rare performers… a consummate professional
— Andy Frank, Roots Music Canada
“Brings back nostalgic memories of early Dylan and Paxton… Like a work of
art Brooks’ way with words make you delve more deeply than you’re possibly
accustomed to but let’s face it, in this day and age when we’re dictated by
the likes of Tesco and Walmart as to what we should be reading then Heaven
help us all. With sterling work provided by fellow musicians Joe Phillips
(bass), John Showman (violin), Scott Dibble (guitars) and Carrie Elkin/Lynn
Miles on vocals this album really is something special.”
— Folking.com, UK
” ‘Political’ songwriting is all too often assumed to be shouty simplistic
protest, and all too often it is and therefore tends to be ignored by those
who should take the most notice of it. Canadian Jon Brooks knows this and
his songs are songs first and messages second. … a powerful and at times
brutally clear-sighted vision, …armed only with an acoustic guitar, a
harmonica and a gritty ragged voice… Brooks is a star in the making.”
— Maverick Magazine, UK