Flying Cat Music is proud to host the return of award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter Jon Brooks to New York’s Hudson Valley on Sunday, May 4, in a concert at the Empire State Railway Museum located at 70 Lower High Street in Phoenicia. The show begins promptly at 7:30 p.m. with the door opening at 7:00. Admission is $15 at the door or $13 with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 845-688-9453.
The Toronto Star puts Jon Brooks among some heavy company in saying, “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.” Penguin Eggs expands the comparisons further afield stating, “Brooks follows the tradition of poking holes in accepted truths, a path blazed by the likes of Woody Guthrie and John Lennon.”
Jon Brooks is a 2010 winner of the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Contest and Rod Kennedy, who founded and produces that festival, adds that Brooks “. . . speaks and sings words that need to be spoken and sung and he does it beautifully, perfectly, and with absolute finesse.” Jon Brooks describes his own song writing this way, “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.” What he is saying is certainly being noticed. With four CDs now released, Brooks has already been nominated three times in the last five years for the Canadian Folk Music Award in the English Songwriter of the Year category.
There is not much typical about a Jon Brooks song except perhaps for his use of voice and instruments. Brooks goes where pop dares not travel. His songs are introspective in a way that transcends self. He looks at the bigger picture through the portal of the personal in stories that illuminate the conflicts raging around us by exploring the choices we make in our daily lives. Maverick Magazine UK says Brooks has “brutally clear-sighted vision” and calls him “a star in the making.”
If you have the impression that Jon Brooks is known for writing some “heady stuff” well it’s true and that choice is deliberate. A review of Delicate Cages (Jon’s most recent release) at folkring.com states, “This Toronto based singer-songwriter certainly knows how to put across his message in a self-assured style that will send a shiver down the spine of any ‘thinking’ man . . . bringing back nostalgic memories of early Dylan and Paxton.” Jon Brooks’ second CD, Ours and the Shepherds is now among the collections of the Canadian War Museum, and the lyrics and music of his follow up to it, Moth Nor Rust, were published by Canada’s esteemed literary quarterly, Exile Editions.
None of this, however, should trick you into thinking that a Jon Brooks concert is some variant of a dreary cerebral experience. For one thing, Jon is a master with melodies and his music is laced with subtle potent hooks that catch you every time, carried along by Brooks’ powerful and nuanced performance. Beyond that though, Jon Brooks’ penetrating commentary cannot be dismissed as depressing, although the dark side of human nature is never averted by him. The title of Jon’s third CD refers to all those things that neither moth nor rust may touch: love, hope, faith, memory, gratitude, trust, inspiration, and forgiveness. And therein lays the heart of Jon Brooks’ music.