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Jon Brooks

Singer-songwriter, guitarist

Song – "Small" - Now Playing ...

Upon his return from a 1997 visit to war-ruined Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jon Brooks traded guitar for pen, claiming his faith in popular music as a source of healing had been challenged. In 2005 – after eight years of neither writing music nor performing – Brooks conceded the opposing view to be equally true: that "only the art of song carries within itself the means toward greater social justice and community survival. I want my songs to be three-and-a-half-minute pills which, if digested, induce upon the listener empathy toward others.”

Though Brooks' music is filled with gray 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. The highest aim of song is to invoke empathy – to offer that rare sight of ourselves in others. In this sense, the folksinger is simply trying to politicize love, hence, my contention that today’s songwriter should be a lobbyist for compassion to be our principal representative in government office.”

In 2006 he released No Mean City, a weighty and conceptual exposition of the modern urban soul’s homelessness and moral fatigue. In 2007, Brooks earned superlative acclaim with the release of Ours And The Shepherds, an album of Canadian war stories inspired by James Loney, Senator Roméo Dallaire, Sgt. Tommy Prince, and John McRae, among others. The collection earned Brooks a Best Songwriter nomination at the 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards. The magazine Penguin Eggs deemed it “a thoroughly wonderful and truly important addition to the canon of Canadian folk music.” Brooks also won the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals' Songs From the Heart competition that year.

His 2009 CD, Moth Nor Rust, looked inward to all that neither moth nor rust can touch: love, hope, trust, memory, inspiration, justice, and faith. More than a celebration of the inner life, Moth Nor Rust reminds us how the song is a necessary and moral means toward lifting humanity in the 21st century. Moth Nor Rust earned Brooks his second Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Best Songwriter, and its lyrics were published by Canada’s esteemed literary quarterly, Exile Editions. Brooks also won of the Canadian regional round of the 2009 Mountain Stage NewSong Contest, and made The Toronto Star’s annual list of Top 10 Artists To Watch In 2010.


Moth Nor Rust (2009)
Ours and the Shepherds (2007)
No Mean City (2006)

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