Basic Folk 22 – Jonatha Brooke

I have always really liked Jonatha Brooke. Her songs are sharp, joyful and wise. She’s one of those writers who always knows what to do, which is the basis for why we like pop music. Her songs take you to the place you wanna go while still hitting vulnerability and insight. I can confidently say that after our conversation, I love Jonatha Brooke: the musician, the person, the soul. She’s the real goddamn deal.

JB gives details about her upbringing in a Christian Science household (she went to Christian Science Summer Camp) and where she stands now with her religion. We speak of her journey taking care of her mother, who suffered dementia, but seems like she was a total goofball and made JB laugh during the weirdest and saddest time in one’s life. She ended up creating a one-woman musical out of that experience called “My Mother Has Four Noses.” We also get to talking about the sensuality of Woody Guthrie. JB’s album The Works is all songs written and never finished by Guthrie. And of course, we talk about her incredible duo The Story. I’m really shocked how much ground we cover in this conversation!

I’m so grateful for Jonatha’s honesty during this moving conversation. I hope we get to talk again sometime! She is a very special person.

JB on Letterman in 2001!

Jonatha’s latest album Midnight Hallelujah

3 thoughts on “Basic Folk 22 – Jonatha Brooke

  1. Cool! I learned so much about Jonatha here. For an older guy like me, it took her working with Bruce Cockburn (her song, War) to clue me into her songs. I’ve been following her ever since. Like a fine wine, she’s just improved with age. She’s ridiculously talented in so many ways. Intelligent, and such a beautiful woman, both inside and out. One big surprise that I play for unknowing visitors is when I put on her “Woody Guthrie” album. Others have had access to Woody’s archives and done some cool things with his lyrics, but Jonatha took it to the next level, IMO. So, needless to say, I was thrilled to hear you guys talk about it. Her own work continues to mature and get even better. I love her fearlessness in recording and performing a song like “Put The Gun Down”. She’s a special woman and a special artist. And nice work, Cindy. You even impressed Jonatha with some of your excellent questions!

  2. One of my favorite artists for more years than either of us would probably care to admit. She had told “my story” many times, and I try to introduce her to people whenever I can. Thanks for highlighting her.

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