Jon Brooks returns to TNMH
Take Note! Music House, address given upon reservation, Barrie, ON
The Take Note! Music House presents four-time CFMA “English Songwriter of the Year” nominee Jon Brooks on Friday, March 9 at 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:30). Requested donation is $20, with all proceeds going directly to the artist. You may reserve your seat by calling (705) 305-1687 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (address given upon reservation – downtown Barrie, near the courthouse).
“I write songs to calm those who’ve looked into, and seen, what is in their hearts. I also write songs to terrify those who have not.” – Jon Brooks
“It's a perilous and irresponsible life that pursues an ancient vocation incapable of modern recompense. I’m at once consoled and terrified by Leonard Cohen's comment that 'songwriting is not a vocation, but a sentence...' It’s true that fame and money are the jurors and legislators of success in the current age; and at the mercy of such a court I am unanimously judged a failure. But I can’t help but question such narrow measures of success. Since 2006 I have released 5 albums I remain wholly proud of; I've enjoyed the outrageous honour of being blessed to perform for thousands of open hearted and friendly souls the Western world over; as well, The Canadian Folk Music Awards has deemed me worthy of being nominated – a record 4 times – for 'English Songwriter of the Year' (2007/2009/2012/2015); in 2010, I became the 4th Canadian since 1975 to win the prestigious Kerrville (Texas) Folk Festival 'New Folk Award’. And yet still, on my best day, The Song is woefully all I know. And on many more days, I don't feel I know The Song at all. Like beauty, The Song remains an eternal mystery to me; and, as often as I chase it, I spend my time considering dropping the sad pursuit altogether for something more secure, more ‘responsible.’ But I'm stuck. The irreconcilable problem is this: I know no other thing more intimately than The Song - and outside of kindness, it's the one thing in the mournful world I've occasionally touched that ascends with purpose, force, and love and so I stay seeking it more or less blindly."
“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.” – Greg Quill, The Toronto StarIt was in 1997, at 28 years old, and at the end of a year of travelling throughout Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and particularly, throughout war ruined Bosnia-Herzegovina – it was during this time Jon Brooks discovered what kind of song he wanted to write. In 2006 he began singing that song. Jon is the only songwriter to be nominated four times for “English Songwriter of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards (2007, 2009, 2012, 2015).
No Mean City, released in 2006, was the first in a trilogy of albums of sparse instrumentation and densely layered poetry – a singular writing style characterized by paradox, understatement, overstatement, and by allusion to Western religious, literary and folk traditions. It was followed by Ours and the Shepherds in 2007 and the solo acoustic set Moth Nor Rust in 2009. Each album is imprinted with a theme: architecture and homelessness of the modern urban soul; war; and all the things that neither moth nor rust may touch: love, hope, faith, memory, gratitude, trust, inspiration, and forgiveness.
“He is by turns metaphorical and metaphysical; at times he examines the small details of life, at others, he soars above human struggles seeking something higher; his gritty voice is infinitely kind and gentle. Mature, wise, and intrepid – somehow Jon Brooks sings a path to the mysterious and complex essence of the human condition.” – Julie Miller, CFLX 95,5 Sherbrooke, QC
Delicate Cages (2012) earned Jon his third “Songwriter of the Year” nomination in 5 years from the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Delicate Cages’ songs were inter-woven by themes of love and fear; and freedom and imprisonment. The idea was inspired by the Robert Bly poem, Taking The Hands: “Taking the hands of someone you love, / you see they are delicate cages.” Song subjects were as wide ranging as they were topical and controversial: the Alberta tar sands (Fort McMurray); Bill 101 and Quebec’s language laws (Hudson Girl); Palestinian suicide bombers (Son of Hamas); Bosnian child soldier turned Canadian mixed martial arts fighter (Cage Fighter); and so-called ‘Honour Killing’ (The Lonesome Death of Aqsa Parvez).
“‘Political songwriting’ is all too often assumed to be shouty simplistic protest… Brooks knows this and his songs are songs first and messages second… a powerful vision armed only with an acoustic guitar, harmonica, and a gritty ragged voice… a star in the making.” – Maverick Magazine, UK
The Smiling and Beautiful Countryside (2014) is an album of rural Canadian murder ballads and was recorded in Toronto by well-awarded and oft-acclaimed producer/engineer, David Travers-Smith. Jon’s 5th full length release is an intrepid solo set that defies categorization and resists any ‘folk,’ ‘singer-songwriter,’ or ‘solo acoustic’ description. Philosophical paradox, gallows humour, impossible love, serial killers, gun dealers, rampage killing, missing women, Indigenous catastrophe, Shakespeare, and John Milton: The Smiling and Beautiful Countryside is neither an album for casual fans nor is it music that will ever be heard in your dentist’s waiting room.