John Wort Hannam is a modern day prairie songster – laid back folk songs with a tasteful twang of country creeping in the backdoor.
On his latest album Brambles and Thorns Hannam also explores some south of the border sounds, with some bluegrass and old-timey sounding pieces. Hannam is joined on this disc by Tyson Maiko (upright bass), Scott Duncan (fiddle), and John Macarthur Ellis on “everything he could get his hands on” (guitars, mandolin, lapsteel, dobro, piano, and melodica).
Hannam’s story is an inspiring one – he is a former school teacher who heard a Loudon Wainwright III album and decided to buy a guitar, teach himself some chords and work at becoming a songwriter full-time. Not an easy task. In 2002 he achieved his goal and has been creating a solid library of beautiful music. He hasn’t been just eking out a living as a musician in the past decade – he’s won the Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Competition, been nominated for a Juno and won Canadian Folk Music Award in 2010 for Contemporary Album of the Year.
Brambles and Thorns is a solid, refreshing album full of the western spirit. Hannam’s songs are the voice of the Canadian West – from a lament on the destruction of the landscape in “Radiant Land” to songs of leaving and love unfulfilled in “Song in my Heart”.
Hannam’s songs and voice mesh perfectly with Scott Duncan’s raw power on the fiddle. Songs like “Great Lakes” let Duncan shine with biting double stops and infectious appalachia-infused rhythms.
Hannam has some show stoppers on this album – the title of the disc comes from the very powerful “Poor Man” which is sure to be a new highlight for Hannam’s live show. It’s a foot-stomper if there ever was one. “I am a poor man with nothing to give, nothing at all to flatter you with…” exclaims Hannam in the chorus.
Brambles and Thorns is available through iTunes.
Laid back folk songs with a tasteful twang of country creeping in the backdoor