Music & Entertainment
Attended KCSS • 1982–1987
Inducted October 2009
See Induction Video
Jon Brooks is a multi award winning Canadian songwriter. In Jon’s words, “I aim to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I hope to improve our world by showing it, as truthfully as possible, to others through song. How can a mere song improve our world? I believe a good song affords us empathy: the rare chance to see others as we might see ourselves. In this sense, the folk singer is simply trying to unite people and thus, politicize love.” Thus his contention, “today’s songwriter is essentially a lobbyist for compassion to be our principle representative in government office”.
In 2006, Jon released his first solo effort, No Mean City, a conceptual exposition of the modern urban street and soul’s homelessness and moral fatigue. Jon’s offering, Ours and the Shepherds, was a CD of Canadian war stories inspired by Canadians James Loney, Senator Romeo Dallaire, Sgt. Tommy Prince and John McRae among others. The collection earned Brooks a ‘Best Songwriter’ nomination at the 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Canada’s foremost folk music publication, Penguin Eggs, deemed it “a thoroughly wonderful and truly important addition to the canon of Canadian folk music.” Ours and the Shepherds is now among the collections of The Canadian War Museum and the John McRae Society.
Jon 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.
This year, Jon released his third CD, Moth Nor Rust. Moth Nor Rust focuses on the inner necessities of human survival: forgiveness, repentance, trust, justice, memory, love – essentially: all that neither moth nor rust can touch (Matt. 6:19-21). Lyrics from Moth Nor Rust were also published by Canada’s esteemed literary quarterly, Exile Editions.
At this time [summer 2009], Jon is recording his fourth CD, Delicate Cages.
Jon’s message to current students at KCSS:
“When in doubt, choose kindness over cleverness, feigned confidence over fear, gratitude over entitlement, silence over servility; and, never trust humourless advice. If you are reading this, you already have much for which to be thankful. And, since ingratitude and happiness are not compatible, you have no choice but to express thanks. How? Gratitude will only be expressed by doing what inspires you; in this way, you will inspire others. Lastly, if you cannot inspire, at least make sure you offend”.
Written October 2009
Recognizing outstanding KCSS alumni