“One of the best albums I have heard ever.” ~ Penguin Eggs
Earning singer-songwriter Jon Brooks his first Canadian Folk Music Award nomination (of four), Ours and the Shepherds examines the full costs of war at home. Bookended by songs inspired by Canadian Jim Loney’s forgiveness of the Iraqi captors that murdered a colleague and held him and two others hostage for 118 days in 2005/2006, Brooks tours us from WWI to Afghanistan. Songs span across Canada from Quesnel, BC to New Waterford, Nova Scotia. Thirteen songs inspired by Roméo Dallaire, Chaplain William Davis, Sgt. Tommy Prince and John McCrae, among many other Bosnian, Rwandan and Afghanistan war veterans interviewed over the course of two years’ research.
Amongst the harrowing stories of post-traumatic stress there’s the light respite of “Cigarettes.” The words are from Manitoba-born Signaller Frank P. Dixon’s poem written in the trenches of the first World War. Dixon was among the war dead months after writing this piece, aged 20 in 1918.
Brooks is a rarity. He challenges, enthrals and empathizes. And amongst his earlier work this is the moment when Brooks left the streets of Toronto (his debut solo album No Mean City), to take on the world. It’s also the perfect lead in to his third album, Moth Nor Rust, which celebrates “all that neither moth nor rust can touch” – that is, all that is peacefully human.
With accompaniments from Suzie Vinnick, Joe Phillips, producer Pat Simmonds, and the late James Gray (Blue Rodeo).
“Evocative work chronicling emotional, spiritual and corporal pain, it is neither a cry of protest nor saccharine patriotic hoopla.” ~ Toronto Star
1. Jim Loney’s Prayer Part I (3:22)
2. Mimico (3:46)
3. Tajik Boy (3:50)
4. Kigali (4:49)
5. Auction Days (4:54)
6. Groesbeek (6:07)
7. Sgt. Tommy Prince (4:10)
8. Cigarettes (4:26)
9. The Latest Great Embarrassment (4:18)
10. The Padre (4:12)
11. Hill 677. 5:29
12. Jim Loney’s Prayer Part II (2:45)
13. In Flanders Fields (3:20)