Jon Brooks

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

“(Brooks) speaks and sings words that need to be spoken and sung and he does it beautifully, perfectly, and with absolute finesse.”

Rod Kennedy, Founder and Producer of The Kerrville Folk Festival, Kerrville, TX

“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 Star

“The title of Toronto songwriter Jon Brooks’s The Smiling and Beautiful Countryside, and the vintage print of a red fox on its cover may suggest a collection of pieces inspired by wildlife and sunny landscapes. But the scent is false. The phrase comes from Sherlock Holmes, investigating a crime, and the fifth release by Brooks is a clutch of shockingly visceral new songs whose unifying theme is murder, and whose setting is rural and small-town Canada. On closer look, the fox has a deeply unsettling stare, and its teeth protrude.

Brooks’s lyrics don’t make for easy listening. But he’s so articulate, his black humour is so pervasive, his narratives so compelling and finely-constructed, that you emerge from the darkness with a sense of wonder at the sustained audacity of his enterprise.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/tO_SMDywXWU”][vc_column_text]… Brooks hits hard from the start. Gun Dealer is an appropriately rapid-fire and rap-like litany of the chilling range of weapons the dealer has for sale. It’s followed by the slower-paced and reflective People Don’t Think Of Others, dealing with a husband-and-wife double suicide in a sleepy community on the Prairies, where “you could watch your dog run until lunchtime”. Brooks has a sharp eye for suggestive and ironic detail, such as “Magnetic poetry on a full fridge / gave the note a child-likeness.” And he plays expertly with emotional responses.

… One magnificently murderous song is directly based on tradition – a contemporary reworking of the classic Child Ballad The Twa Sisters. “I’ve always believed that as writers, whatever your genre, we’re never being truly original. The inclusion of The Twa Sisters is like a cue for people to realize we’re in conversation with every other song written before. I prefer performing it without any introduction which makes it all the more surprising and wondrous. One of my primary responsibilities as a songwriter is to be an agent of wonder and surprise in an age when things like Wikipedia shut down the opportunities we used to have to live in that space of unknowing. I want to take people away from the idea of knowing everything all the time – if that’s my only success in this career, I’ll be happy.”

Tony Montague[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”9148″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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