No Mean City –
Equal parts folk-blues record and literary piece, No Mean City is a bittersweet love letter to Toronto, though often more bitter than sweet. Local singer-songwriter Jon Brooks has crafted a sparse, thoughtful and eloquent collection of stories that cast light into some of the dark corners of urban life. Political without being preachy, Brooks’ roughened vocal delivery invokes shades of Tom Waits or NQ Arbuckle. The understated acoustic instrumentation aids the flow of the songs in an almost hypnotic manner. No Mean City is great as a mellow background listen, but definitely stands up to focused scrutiny.