Sweet Music Flows on Friday the 13th
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Lucky fans of Jonatha Brooke were treated to a terrific concert on Friday the 13th, 2015 at Outpost In The Burbs in Montclair, New Jersey. Jonatha Brooke is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and writer whose songs have been used in movies and TV shows. Jonatha has also enjoyed a successful solo career with her most recent (2014) one-woman show moving audience from laughter to tears during a critically-acclaimed run on the Great White Way. My Mother Has 4 Noses is a play and album written by Brooke recounting in music and words her relationship with her mother. Songs from My Mother Has 4 Noses along with other originals were presented at Jonatha's concert at the Universalist Congregation at Montclair where she was warmly received by an attentive audience.

Jonatha Brooke on keyboards at the Outpost In The Burbs in Montclair.

"Hi kids, how's it going?" greeted Brooke. She mentioned that she had been invited to investigate the archives of Woody Guthrie, in a sense allowing her to collaborate with out any arguments with the departed legend. "All You Gotta Do Is Touch Me" was subtly and sexy especially with the assorted sometimes breathy singing that Jonatha used to enhance it. Still strumming an acoustic Brooke moved into her colorful "Back in the Circus" that was a tale of life in the context of a circus.

"Hearsay" incorporated interesting word play supported by sturdy strumming. Jonatha was charming often sharing insights into her music. Brooke said that she wrote "Angel in the House" around the time that her parents were going through a divorce. The song was mainly about her mother with also a nod to her grandmother. As with many of her tunes it was personal, poetic and sung with emotion as was the melodic "My Misery".

Jonatha Brooke on guitar at the Outpost In The Burbs in Montclair.

Sitting at her Casio keyboard, Jonatha stated that she had penned a song for a Peter Pan movie. The song was about Wendy's 12 year old daughter who went through a theatrical trial to save the day. "I'll Try" was a hopeful magical song as was "Potential", a tune from Hopper a new musical that she is working on. Moving back to the guitar she referred to My Mother Has 4 Noses as a lead into "Scars" a tune based on a poem of her mother's. It was moving leaving its musical mark. Brooke finished her first set with another Woody collaboration describing it as Guthrie's version of "Love The One Your With".

" 'Always' was the third song I ever wrote," reminisced Jonatha, observing that she was listening to Suzanne Vega a lot at that time. It was a tuneful tale of kings and princesses. Jonatha's songs are filled with visual images and her varied vocalizations adds to the passion of her music. Brooke is an artist who plays from the heart. She was almost in tears as she picked a thumb piano singing a song about losing her mother.

Brooke is a strong story and truth teller. Jonatha has a lovely voice that moves smoothly into the high ranges but she can put some grit into it if a song calls for it. Her lyrics speaks to people on many levels. Brooke appealed to both the younger and older people who were lucky to be at her Friday the 13th concert. She stuck around after the show to meet fans jesting that "signed stuff is so valuable, you can not stream a signature".

Jonatha Brooke on thumb piano at the Outpost In The Burbs in Montclair.

Currently, Brooke is revising her successful Broadway play by bringing My Mother Has Four Noses to select communities as an extended stay residency. The first lucky town on the itinerary is Malvern, Pennsylvania with the show scheduled to settle into the Keystone State from June 16 through June 21, 2015.

Jonatha Brooke is one of many artists who have graced the Outpost's stage. Outpost In The Burbs is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building community through music, service and cultural programs. Outpost In The Burbs starting hosting concerts in the spring of 1987. Since then they have held over 350 shows, naming Judy Collins, Richie Haven, Dar Williams as some of the well-known headliners who have performed at this unique northern New Jersey venue.

Currently, Outpost In The Burbs has several locations run by dedicated volunteers in the town of Montclair, New Jersey. Their concert series run from fall into the spring along with monthly spiritual drumming meetings. They are affiliated with the Community Food Bank of NJ, Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots and more. Outpost In The Burbs continues to do good works in the community and in the music world, with more shows planed for 2015, including Susan Werner, David Bromberg with Larry Campbell and Roger McGuinn.

Related Links: For more information on JONATHA BROOKE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Jonatha Brooke | Outpost In The Burbs | My Mother Has Four Noses - Review | RRL on the Radio Interview with Jonatha Brooke

(Originally Published on March 14, 2015)




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