ABOUT JOHNSON CROOK
From the moment Toronto roots rock band Johnson Crook played together, they knew they not only had harmony in their voices, but a deep personal connection that made the idea of forming a group a foregone conclusion.
What the quartet—Noel Johnson (rhythm guitars/vocals), brothers Nathan (lead guitar/mandolin/vocals) and Trevor Crook (drums/vocals) and Jared Craig (bass/vocals)—share is a love of pure, honest music stemming from their small-town backgrounds. Drawing inspiration from groups like the Eagles and the Avett Brothers, each member of Johnson Crook contributes equally, injecting their unique personalities into the overall sound built on four voices.
That special chemistry is heard on their self-titled debut EP released through Coalition Records, to be followed by a full-length album later in 2017. Both encapsulate a whirlwind initial two years of live gigs and recording sessions that began almost immediately after that first encounter.
Teaming with acclaimed producer Bill Bell, they began shaping a collection of songs laid down at his home studio and at Metalworks near Toronto. The first taste, the single “Minnedosa,” came out in the summer of 2016, coinciding with the band’s multiple festival appearances. Named after the Crook brothers’ Manitoba hometown, it deftly displays the group’s intention to stand apart from crowded field of contemporary country artists.
Other tracks on the EP came about just as naturally. “Canada Heartbreak” was the result of Johnson and Craig taking part in VIA Rail’s Artists On Board series, written as a reflection of their journey. Another highlight, the plaintive ballad “Mr. Nobody,” was given a boost in the studio through the participation of Bell’s close friend Tom Cochrane, whose voice fit in seamlessly.
Expect to see Johnson Crook in your town at some point in the wake of the EP and forthcoming album. Every stop brings with it a story that could become a new song, and as a group founded on the principles of equality, Johnson Crook’s creative potential is limitless.