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Johnson Crook get Tom Cochrane's stamp of approval

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Toronto based country rock band Johnson Crook have done a lot in the last three years.Johnson Crook come to Lethbridge, July 13. Photo by Francesca Ludikar
“ We all come from small towns and moved to Toronto to become a country band. We we did it backwards,” observed lead guitarist Nathan Crook, who along with his brother, drummer Trevor Cook, bassist Jared Craig and lead singer /rhythm guitarist Noel Johnson played in other bands across Canada before meeting in Toronto.
They have done a lot since forming almost four years ago and even a lot in the last year since releasing their debut CD “ The Album” and  and EP in 2017.

 Johnson Crook play the Slice, Friday, July 13 with the Crooked Creek Warblers.
“ I’ve gotten married and our lead singer had a kid,” observed Crook, noting one highlight was working with Tom Cochrane, who sings on “Mr. Nobody.”

“ Me and my  brother are from Manitoba. He’s a Canadian treasure and a Manitoba treasure, so to have him on a song I wrote…” Crook enthused, adding they met Cochrane naturally.

“ Our producer Bill Bell is also Tom Cochrane’s guitarist. So one day he asked us if we minded of he brought a friend. And it was Tom Cochrane. We stayed up until three or four in the morning playing our songs and his songs,” he reminisced, adding Cochrane took to “Mr. Nobody.”

“Then, we were in the studio and Bill asked if we would mind if he brought a friend and it was Tom Cochrane again and Tom asked if he could sing a verse on the song,” he said.
“There’s a video of Tom saying Noel is the best songwriter in Canada, so to have a guy like that in the band is really amazing. It means a lot to have him say something like that,” Crook continued.
 In the meantime they are looking forward  to the summer, which includes several big festivals, a stop at the Calgary Stampede on the Coca Cola Stage on July 14 and 15 and the Station in Edmonton with rising star Meghan Patrick, July 8.

“We’re really excited to play the Stampede,” he said.
“We’ve never brought the band to Lethbridge before. Noel is from Alberta, so we’re looking forward to going there,” he said.

“We’ll be playing a lot of original music and some new songs so all of them will be new to Lethbridge. But we‘ll also  play a few covers  like “Little Sister,” and Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen songs,” he said, adding they won’t be playing any Tom Cochrane songs.

“We don’t like to play them unless we’re with Tom and we’ve been able to play with him three times,” he continued.
He noted they often get compared to bands like  The Band, Tom Petty and the Good Brothers and sometimes even the Eagles.
“That’s probably because of our four part harmonies,” he said the odd comparison to rising country stars High Valley is also flattering.
He said the harmonies come really naturally.


 We all have different vocal ranges. I sing really high and my brother sings really low. We have that connection as brothers.  Noel and Jared song in between that. We’ve got to the point where we know exactly where to sing in a song,” he said.

 The band has a fun summer planned, playing the Dauphin Country festival as well as their home town of Minnedosa, for which they named a song after.
They are also looking forward to playing with Meghan Patrick.
“We’ve played with her at the CMAs and the CMAO for Ontario,” he said.
 After that they are driving down to Nashville.

“ We‘re going to do some songwriting and play the Americana festival,” he said,
They are excited about “The Album.”

 “We wanted a title that was easy to remember. And a lot has happened in the past couple of years. It really is an album. The album insert is a photo album of our lives. It seems like everybody is releasing singles. We wanted to release an album,” he said adding the EP, which was released a couple months before the album has several of the same songs, except for “Canada To Heartbreak,” which shows their more rock and roll side.
“We were playing the VIA Rail series and they usually want us to play songs about Canada, so we decided we could write a song about Canada and all the places we‘ve gone,” he said.
Johnson Crook and the Gabriel Thaine play the Slice, July 13.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 July 2018 09:21 )  
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