If you missed Jon Brooks performance the last time he graced our stage a couple of years back, you are not going to want to make the same mistake this time around as this incredible singer/songwriter and performer visits the Sooke Folk Music Society’s concert stage this Saturday evening, March 30.
Upon his return from a 1997 trek throughout war ruined Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jon quit writing songs and performing, claiming, “I’m at least 1,000 books and emotions shy of earning the right to stand behind a microphone.” Eight years later — at the suggestion of one of his Canadian literary heroes, Austin Clarke — Brooks wiped the dust off his Taylor Jumbo 615.
Though Brooks’s music is filled with grey 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 folk singer is simply trying to politicize love, hence, my contention that today’s songwriter should be a lobbyist for compassion to be our principle representative in government office.”
Brooks is also a published essayist with Guernica Editions’ Barry Callaghan: Essays On His Works (2007) with contributions by Margaret Atwood, William Kennedy, Joyce Carol Oates, and others.
Brooks’s new record, Delicate Cages (2011) takes its title from the Robert Bly poem, Taking The Hands — Taking the hands of someone you love/You see they are like delicate cages.
Delicate Cages aims to reveal the complicit natures of good and evil, love and fear, and freedom and imprisonment. The Delicate Cages we live within are forms of enslavement — and not all ‘cages’ are necessarily bad. On his latest and most urgent and accessible collection of songs, Brooks promises freedom to all who choose love over fear.
Brooks’s songs are underscored throughout by his gently weather-beaten voice, the singular beautiful sound of hand on guitar, and his uncanny ability to press his ear against the heartbeat and the soul of the times we live in — transforming, inspiring and uplifting us as we bear witness.
You will want to be with us this Saturday evening for a tour-de-force concert by this gifted artist. Brooks is truly one of the finest singer/songwriters this country has produced. Don’t forget, for this concert only, the location is Sooke Baptist Church, 7110 West Coast Road. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the concert commencing at 8 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Gallant, Sooke Folk Music Society