Most singer-songwriters don’t mess around with their guitar tuning but Jonatha Brooke is no sissy, using almost as many different guitar tunings as songs. Even if you’re not a guitar geek, you can hear how her work has an open feeling, like looking out over a broad landscape on a quiet winter day.
Brooke might have come on your radar when she was one half of The Story with Jennifer Kimball. Their first album, released in 1992, quickly gained broad appeal, as did their second. Brooke set out on her own after that, releasing six solo CDs. She’s done it again with The Works, a collection of songs written with Woody Guthrie — yeah, the same guy who penned “This Land is Your Land.” He’s been gone since 1967, but his daughter, Nora, opens his files of lyrics for handpicked musicians to use.
Brooke discovered a romantic side of Guthrie. She used those lyrics, sometimes taken from several different pages, and put them together. With whispery percussion and solid keyboards from Joe Sample, her wonderfully expressive voice and more, she recorded 12 songs. Also featured is blues guitarist/singer/songwriter Keb’ Mo’.
Brooke is touring in the UK and U.S. in the coming months. Listen for her on your radio too — in addition to CD airplay, she’s scheduled to play live on NPR’s Weekend Edition.
In addition to the songs on her album, she’s written a theme song for the new Fox series Dollhouse, directed by Joss Whedon. Does that name sound familiar? It should — he also worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Where, incidentally, Brooke’s “Inconsolable” was used.
Even People magazine liked Brooke’s new CD — I bet you’ll like it, too. Have you heard it? Are you already a fan?