JOHN WORT HANNAM – Brambles And Thorns (Borealis Records BCD219)

Getting all of the “Great Lakes” to scan lyrically must have taken some doing but John Wort Hannam proves up to the challenge and displays this on the bright and breezy opening track. It’s the kind of number you can imagine driving along on cedar strewn tree lined routes throughout Canada where he’s now based having journeyed from Jersey in the Channel Islands. This first track has a kind of John Denver ‘feel’ (to me anyway) where his guitar and vocals lead the way backed by his musicians John Ellis (pedal steel guitar, mandolin, piano, melodica and banjo), Scott Duncan (fiddle), Tyson Maiko (bass) and backing singers Brooke Wylie, Matt Robinson, Jen Lane and Leeroy Stagger. The production (also by Stagger) proves a thing of beauty in a laid-back, ‘country’ style. Hannam has a warm timbre to his voice that is just right on his old time waltz “Ain’t Lonesome Enough” and in fact he proves a fine song-writer in general. Also likened to Gordon Lightfoot, James Keelaghan and John Prine (and I can see why) this is music that isn’t too heavy on the maple syrup but none the less proves a sweet treat for those that enjoy their music with a bit of bite.


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