Jon Brooks (born 17 August 1968, King City, Ontario, Canada) is a Canadian musician and songwriter. Primarily known as a solo acoustic guitarist and vocalist, he is also proficient with a wide range of instruments including piano, Hammond organ, harmonica, drums, and most recently, the harmonium.
Among the accolades he has received are three nominations for Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for Ours and the Shepherds (2007), Moth Nor Rust (2009), and Delicate Cages (2011) respectively. In 2009, he was the Canadian Regional Winner of the annual Mountain Stage New Song Contest. In 2010, he was a New Folk Winner at The Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas.
- No Mean City (2006)
- Ours And The Shepherds (2007)
- Moth Nor Rust (2009)
- Delicate Cages (2012)
No Mean City (2006)
Brooks' first full length offering is no longer in print and only available digitally on iTunes. No Mean City is a 13 song "ode to the modern urban disaster," and is set in Toronto's past and present. Focusing on those living "on the outskirts of approval," the songs are boldly layered with biblical, literary, and historical allusion. The idea for No Mean City was inspired by Toronto architecture historian, Eric Arthur's book of the same name - which also accounts for why all the songs devote equal attention to their characters' surrounding architecture.
Ours And The Shepherds (2007)
The title of Brooks' second release, Ours and the Shepherds (2007), was taken from Dorothy Day's response to her own reflection, 'whose fault is it? It's ours and the shepherds'. A collection of Canadian war stories dating from WWI through to current missions in Afghanistan. 13 songs inspired by the lives of Canadians, Sen. Romeo Dallaire, Padre William Henry Davis, John McRae, Sgt. Tommy Prince, and James Loney to name a few. OATS earned Jon multiple awards, a place in the Canadian War Museum and The John McRae Society, as well as his first 'Songwriter of the Year' nomination at the 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Moth Nor Rust (2009)
Moth Nor Rust (2009) was Brooks' third release. The theme: songs inspired by 'all that neither moth nor rust' can touch - love, hope, trust, faith, memory, justice, inspiration, and gratitude. The ten songs were recorded live-in-studio, solo, and in first or second takes in the effort to amplify the austere theme of human essentials. Moth Nor Rust enjoyed international chart positions and worldwide airplay as well as his second 'Songwriter of the Year' nomination at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards. The lyrics of MNR were published by Canada's foremost literary journal, Exile Editions.
Delicate Cages (2012)
Delicate Cages was initially released independently in November 2011 but was formally re-released by Borealis Records in May 2012. The album earned Brooks his third 'Songwriter of the Year' nomination in 5 years from The Canadian Folk Music Awards. Like its three predecessors, the 11 songs on Delicate Cages were inter-woven to larger common themes of love and fear; and freedom and imprisonment. The title is taken from the Robert Bly poem, Taking The Hands: 'Taking the hands of someone you love,/you see they are delicate cages.' Also consistent with Brooks' releases, the 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). Morally and politically ambiguous, Delicate Cages, offered what Brooks has since called, "necessary and alternative understandings of 'hope' and 'grief' that are neither sanitized, dumbed down, nor cheapened or degraded by the modern lie of 'closure.'"
Awards and Nominations
- 2012 Canadian Folk Music Award nominee - English Songwriter of the Year
- 2010 International Songwriting Competition winner
- 2010 Kerrville New Folk Competition winner
- 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award nominee - English Songwriter of the Year
- 2007 Canadian Folk Music Award nominee - English Songwriter of the Year
- 2007 Ontario Council of Folk Festivals 'Songs From The Heart'
- 2006 Songwriter of the Year - The International Greenman Review
Brooks has been invited to perform at many international music festivals including:
Canada: Home County Folk Festival (2006 & 2008), Shelter Valley Folk Festival (2007 & 2011), Edmonton Folk Festival (2008), Frostbite Music Festival (2008), Ottawa Folk Festival (2010), Islands Folk Festival (2010, 2012), Calgary Folk Music Festival (2011)
USA: Kerrville Folk Festival (2010, 2011, 2013), Rice Festival (2010)
UK: Greenbelt Festival (2009)
Australia: Newstead Folk Festival (2011)