The Smiling & Beautiful Countryside
Don't let the idyllic-sounding album title fool you. There are dark pastures aplenty on The Smiling & Beautiful Countryside, the compelling fifth album from folk-rooted songsmith Jon Brooks, a multiple Folk Music Awards nominee. One of our most poetic writers, he crafts vivid portraits of gun dealers, serial killers, real-life murders ("Queensville"), and the abuses suffered by our First Nations. Accompanied only by his own guitar, Brooks delivers them via gritty vocals and is abetted by the crisp production of David Travers-Smith (Oh Susanna). He takes chances too, as on the rap-style staccato delivery of the stunning "Gun Dealer". The gorgeous design of the album and 16-page booklet (courtesy of Michael Wrycraft) is a bonus.
He begins a Western tour in Chilliwack on Nov. 21, followed by U.S. gigs. Go to his website for full details.