Brambles and Thorns - 2012
$20.00 / Sold Out
Brambles and Thorns is the fifth full-length release by Fort Macleod's John Wort Hannam, and with it his star just keeps on rising.
In these 12 new songs, all inspired by his own personal experiences and observations, John's natural gift for storytelling and keen ear for melody are hard to deny.
Recorded "live off the floor" at Lethbridge's Rebeltone Ranch studio, John's pure sound is enhanced by a full backing band and a fine selection of intriguing instruments.
Each track on Brambles and Thorns seems to revolve around a person or place in a rural prairie landscape, which is often the case for many of John's songs. While this award-winning Alberta songwriter is sometimes compared to Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine, or Stan Rogers, John has a voice and style that are distinctly his alone.
Highlights include "Nothing At All," detailing a grandfather's struggle with Alzheimer's, and "Beautiful Friend," a tribute to one of John's closest friends, who passed away after a fierce battle with ALS.
That's not to say this is an album filled with tragedy and despair–quite the opposite, in fact. Many tracks are bright and breezy, with subjects including a favourite guitar, a visit to Memphis, and a regrettable tattoo.
Most songs have sparse construction, with nice open segments allowing the instrumentation to really shine. Some have Celtic elements, while others lean a bit more towards country. No matter the influence though, John's warm vocals and laid-back nature are the true stars of this show.
Several tracks feature backing vocals, and though the album is completely drum free, you never really notice the absence thanks to the strength of the songs themselves. The addition of fiddles, banjos, steel guitar, and Dobro round out the sound, making this John's most accomplished album to date.
With humour and energy balanced by a few gentle ballads, there's a little something for everyone on Brambles and Thorns. Moreover, with thoughtful lyrics telling stories about ordinary people and places, Brambles and Thorns is a timeless album that gets better with each listen. John even revisits a song from one of his older albums, and offers up his take on a song penned by Lethbridge's own Leeroy Stagger, who is also the album's producer.
With Juno nominations and folk music awards under his belt, John is a self-made Southern Alberta success story, and if the soothing sounds of Brambles and Thorns are any indication, he'll be making music for decades to come.
1. Great Lakes (3:51)
2. Pretty Good (2:38)
3. Ain't Lonesome Enough (3:25)
4. Poor Man (3:41)
5. Song In My Heart (4:52)
6. Nothing At All (4:03)
7. Out Here (3:08)
8. Dickson's Slough (4:09)
9. Memphis (3:44)
10. Damn Tattoo (2:40)
11. Radiant Land (3:25)
12. Beautiful Friend (3:36)